DIXFIELD – The Western Foothills School District is receiving a $1.3 million grant for after-school and summer activities for five years starting July 1.

“It’s wonderful to know that we have touched so many students and have exposed them to academics in a fun way,” said Katherine Harvey, SAD 21 grant manager, who with Allie Burke of SAD 43, and Pat Carson, of SAD 39, wrote the newest grant for use by the three districts.

The districts have consolidated into Regional School Union 10.

A previous five-year grant of nearly the same amount paid for similar programs.

The newest grant will target Dirigo Middle School students, Rumford Elementary and Meroby Elementary schools’ students, and the lower grades at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.

The activities are available for low-performing youngsters who haven’t met state learning standards who have been recommended by teachers or principals. Others have participated as well in such programs as job shadowing medical workers at Franklin Memorial Hospital, and through leadership seminars. The multitude of activities includes the academic component as well as a physical exercise portion and exposure to multi-cultural events, dance, drama, transitional programs for fifth- and eighth-graders and other diverse activities.

Burke is pleased with how students at varying age levels have learned to interact during the past five years.

“Everyday, the kids seem to appreciate what they can do. I’m hoping for more of the same,” she said.

Although the newest grant does not fund SAD 43 middle school programs this year, Burke said some money has been raised to provide a smaller version of an after-school program for that age level.

SAD 39 is in the first year of a five-year grant for elementary-age children, and will also be part of the new grant.

The program uses more than two dozen part-time tutors and enrichment teachers, and generally runs Monday through Thursday from 2:30-5:30 p.m. during the school year, and for several weeks in the summer.

The regionwide program will receive $300,000 for each of the first three years, then $225,000 during the fourth year, and $180,000 during the fifth and last year of the grant.

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