BCSD awarded $1M grant to support free after school programming

May 17, 2024
A little girl smiles at the camera alongside two boys

The Burlington Community School District has been awarded another 21st Century Community Learning Center grant to support free K-6 afterschool programming. 

The federal grant will provide BCSD $1,096,538 over five years beginning July 1 for the PiECES Afterschool Program at three buildings: North Hill and Black Hawk elementaries and Aldo Leopold Intermediate School. 

Currently, Black Hawk students enrolled in PiECES are bused to Grimes. This grant will bring the program back to Black Hawk, which hosted PiECES up until the end of the 2021-2022 school year. The program no longer will be available at Edward Stone Middle School due to other after-school activities there. 

PiECES will continue to be offered at Sunnyside and Grimes elementary schools as well under a previously awarded 21st Century grant. 

“We are fortunate to have such a wonderful afterschool program for our students and families,” Superintendent Robert Scott said. “I’m really excited to be able to continue that programming.”

This installment of the grant is the fifth BCSD has been awarded under the federal program over the past 10 years to support the PiECES program. Over that time, PiECES has served 5,584 students.

“PiECES provides a structured yet fun, hands-on experience for students during those important hours of 3-6 p.m.,” said BCSD Supervisor of Grants and Outreach Cassie Gerst, who holds a master’s degree in Youth Development from Iowa State University. 

The program has been shown to have numerous positive outcomes for PiECES students and their families. According to 2023 Parent and Student Surveys, attendance reports and ISASP scores:

  • 70% of students reported they attend PiECES because they want to be there, not because their parents make them attend; 
  • The majority of PiECES students say the program helps them feel good about themselves, get along better with friends and stay out of trouble after school;
  • Parents of PiECES students say one of the best parts about the program is that it provides a free, safe learning environment;
  • Most parents say that PiECES offers them an opportunity to have a greater role in their child’s education;
  • PiECES students say the best part of PiECES is learning new things and the fun activities they do; 
  • The majority of students attending PiECES say being in the program allowed them to try new things and volunteer in class more;
  • Most PiECES staff believe PiECES makes a positive difference in the lives of students they serve; 
  • Most students who regularly attend PiECES will improve their state assessment scores in reading and math; 
  • Most students who attend PiECES regularly improve their school day attendance; 
  • The majority of students attending PiECES improve their self-regulation skills. 

Registration for PiECES for the 2024-25 school is open! To register, click here.

To learn more about PiECES and other grant programs, click here.