Governor LePage announces $11.3 million to support at-risk students

The Governor announced the awards from the Maine Department of Education at the Reiche School in Portland alongside the CEO of LearningWorks, one of 15 grantees who will establish or continue 32 community learning centers that provide students extended learning services

PORTLAND – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that the Maine Department of Education is giving out $11.3 million over the next five years to support extended learning opportunities for at-risk students.

The Governor announced the awards alongside Education Commissioner Jim Rier, LearningWorks CEO Ethan Strimling, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk and South Portland School Department Superintendent Suzanne Godin at the Reiche School in Portland.

LearningWorks will receive around $2.5 million over the five-year award period to provide hands-on, engaging and relevant extended day and summer programming at six schools in Portland and South Portland through the establishment and continuation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Community learning centers provide academic support and enrichment opportunities outside of school hours that improve the in-school performance of at-risk students – including those who struggle academically or are from low-income or immigrant families.

They are run by school districts, nonprofit organizations or universities and primarily located on elementary or secondary school campuses where more than 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced priced lunch.

Beyond improving academic outcomes, the centers also support positive youth development, student health and wellness, drug and violence prevention, increased community service and career preparedness and parent engagement.

“Quality educational opportunities like these can truly make a difference in a child’s life,” said Governor LePage. “These programs will ensure Maine’s most struggling students have access to the extra help they need to overcome their challenges, catch up to their peers and really have the chance they deserve to reach their full potential.”

The awards from the Maine DOE will help to establish or maintain 32 community learning centers, bringing the total number of sites that will be operating this coming school year in the state to 59, according to Commissioner Rier.

“Assumptions are often made about what students can or cannot accomplish because of their family’s income, native language or other circumstances,” Commissioner Rier said. “Yet across the state, schools are helping their students find success in the classroom and the community by using different approaches to overcome those challenges rather than excuse them. After-school and summer learning opportunities continue to be an approach that works and we look forward to seeing aspirations and achievement levels raised as a result of these new and expanded programs.”

The 15 grantees were selected by Maine DOE through a competitive process and will share in $3 million this year. New grantees will receive recurring amounts for the second and third year of the awards period, then 75 percent of the original award amount in the fourth year and 65 percent in the fifth year while renewing grants will be funded equally for three years. The programs are expected to eventually become self-sustaining and continue with local funding.

With the State support, LearningWorks will annually provide 220 Portland elementary school students and 105 from South Portland more than 10 additional hours of learning each week during the school year, plus five weeks of summer programming.

The intent is to help those young students overcome income, language and other barriers that have hindered their early academic performance and bring them up to grade level proficiency in key subject areas like math and reading. Students who enter middle school below academic standards are more likely to become disengaged, falling further behind and eventually failing or dropping out of high school.

“LearningWorks is extremely honored to be receiving this grant,” said organization CEO Strimling. “Over the next five years, we will be able to serve over 300 low-performing second to fifth graders a year. If our past results are prologue to the future, over 90 percent of these students will begin catching up to their peers and breaking the cycle of generational poverty.”

The funding awarded by the State to support 21st Century Learning Centers is allocated to the Maine DOE by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, visit For more information about LearningWorks, visit



AOS#92 Winslow • Winslow Elementary School $75,196.00
**Auburn School Department • Edward Little High School

• Park Avenue School

• Washburn School

Bangor School Department • Fairmount School $115,347.00
LearningWorks – Portland • Fred P. Hall School

• Riverton School

**LearningWorks – Portland • East End Community School

• Howard C. Reiche School

LearningWorks – South Portland • James Otis Kaler Elementary  School

• Waldo T. Skilling School

**Lewiston School Department • Lewiston Middle School

• Lewiston High School

Maine Academy of Natural Sciences • Maine Academy of Natural Sciences $150,000.00
Maine Family Resource Center – RSU#29 • Houlton Southside School $150,000.00
Maine Family Resource Center – RSU#70 • Hodgdon High School $77,000.00
Maine Family Resource Center – RSU#70 • Mill Pond School $100,000.00
RSU#10 • Dirigo Elementary School

• Mountain Valley Middle School

**RSU#20 • Ames Elementary School

• East Belfast School

• Searsport Middle School

RSU#24 • Cave Hill School

• Mountain View School

• Sumner Memorial High School

**RSU#45 • Washburn Elementary School $97,500.00
**RSU#60 • Hanson Elementary School $97,000.00
**RSU#82/MSAD#12 – Jackman • Forest Hills Consolidated School $97,500.00
**Sanford School Department • Carl J. Lamb School

• Margaret Chase Smith School

• Willard School

**University of Maine Farmington – RSU#73 • Spruce Mountain Middle School $97,500.00

*The award amount listed here reflects the initial year of funding. New programs will receive recurring amounts for the first three years, then 75 percent of the original award amount in the fourth year and 65 percent of the original award amount in the fifth year. Continuing grantees, noted with a double asterisk (**), are in a three-year funding cycle, during which they will receive equal amounts each year.


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