21st Century Community Learning Centers
21st Century Community Learning Centers and the activities they offer may be funded with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education using Federal funding, CFDA 84.287, Every Student Succeeds Act, Title IV B – 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
The programs and activities highlighted were: K-Pop Dance, LEGO Robotics, Fencing, Soccer and Gaming. The activities promote healthy lifestyles, STEM and student leadership and are led by knowledgeable and dedicated staff and volunteers.
Thanks go to everyone who helped organize the event and in particular to Kyle Gilbertson and Shamila Amarasekera for their LEGO robotics challenges and support, Albert Lee for teaching fencing, dungeon master Brendan Bogues for Dungeons and Dragons, Jeanine Engelking and Heather Duellman for K-Pop and Gavin Jones for soccer.
We ran a Poetry Out Loud program through Cohort 8 of the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant and based it in our Century HS CLC. Participants met in-person, and virtually when necessary, to learn and present their chosen poems. They were guided by two volunteer Rochester Public School District staff, Lisa Higgs and Amanda Ruggeri. The local heat of the competition was held at the Rochester Civic Theatre with three independent judges scoring the performances.
Starting in the spring of 2018, Mr. Nur and SASSA became a community-engagement partner for UMR’s Community Collaboratory course and he has continued to foster this learning collaboration ever since. Beyond his collaboration with UMR, Mr. Nur’s work contributes to efforts towards establishing an inclusive Rochester. He is a community leader who does the work of bridging communities, not only towards understanding but accountability; and who engages in centering the role of Somali youth.
The Green Thumb Initiative garden program at the Rochester ALC was designed with experiential learners in mind. Liz Quackenbush and Katie Sloan created this program because they knew that the best way to prepare ALC students to meet academic standards was through participating in hands-on experiences that parallel the concepts they learn in the classroom. To provide these experiences, students built an urban vegetable farm out of a barren lot. As the program evolved, students learned about lack of food access in communities with a high rate of poverty, and who have a high population of people of color. The students were compelled to end food apartheid in Rochester, and through a partnership with the Rochester Public Library, now The Green Thumb Initiative is growing organic produce and then giving it away in areas of our community that are experiencing food drought.
Liz Quackenbush died unexpectedly in March of 2021. To honor her memory and contribution to our community, the growing season is dedicated to her. The Rochester Public Library has created wildflower seeds in her memory to spread her message of activism and hope throughout our world. She believed that each seed planted represented a promise, and each growing season was a fresh start to begin anew. This belief was shared with ALC students who experienced academic failure, and through this garden, students grew more than vegetables and credits toward graduation. They grew confidence and hope for a better future.