DIXFIELD — At least a couple of hundred students at Mountain Valley Middle School and Dirigo Elementary School will receive extra academic assistance and enrichment activities after school next year thanks to a $300,000 21st Century grant.

The grant is good for three years of the same amount each, and two additional years at a slightly lower amount if funding is still available, Western Foothills Kids Association Director Barbara Radmore said.

The new grant, set to begin in September, will provide funds for a variety of activities, as well as part-time jobs for about a dozen people.

“We’re expecting a huge program this year, particularly at DES,” Radmore said.

Site coordinators have already been hired. Susie DeRoehn will oversee activities at DES, and Ilse Dunbar will perform similar duties at MVMS. Both women have worked previously in after-school programs.

The focus of after-school learning activities will be based on what students want and staff believes will be most beneficial for youngsters. Surveys will be conducted at the beginning of the new school year.


The current summer program focuses on science, the arts and technology.

That grant, for Rumford and Meroby elementary schools and Dirigo and Buckfield middle schools, runs out this summer.

Radmore is looking for ways to continue after-school programs at those schools.

The most recent grant is part of an $11.3 million federal grant to support at-risk students, according to a news release issued by Gov. Paul LePage’s office. One of the criterion for eligibility is the number of students who qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches. The grant requires at least 40 percent to qualify, and most of the schools in RSU 10 have at least 60 percent eligibility.

The RSU 10 grant is one of 15 statewide to receive the funds.

The familiar name for the grant is an after-school program, but it is much more than that, Assistant Superintendent and Curriculum Coordinator Gloria Jenkins said by email.

“This program is really called ‘community learning centers.’ It allows RSU 10 to ‘offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating students’ as well. We welcome families as well as students to attend our programs,” she said.

Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay also received a grant of nearly $100,000 each year for three years.

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