Skip to content

After-School excellence meets community engagement

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News Fredericktown Intermediate School students participate in the Bad to the Bow Learning Zone Class, Monday. 

After-School excellence meets community engagement

By: Victoria Kemper, Democrat News

As the new school year kicks off, the Fredericktown R-I School District is buzzing with excitement about its Learning Zone After School Program. This program, which kicked off Monday, not only serves the students but also extends its benefits to adults, making it a hub of learning and engagement.

Learning Zone is part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center School initiative, supported by a grant which funds after-school programs. 

“We have one of the biggest after-school programs in the state,” Assistant Superintendent Shannon Henson said. “About 450 kids have signed up and approximately 275 stay until five o’clock each day.”

The program is not just about academic support.

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
FIS students filled the library for the first LEGO Lab Learning Zone Class, Monday.

Henson said it provides a positive place for students to go after school and have a daily dinner provided. He said, it is fun but also engaging and a great supplement to the school day.

“Our broad array of activities seems to keep students engaged,” Henson said. “We also know that after school care is needed in the community.”

Henson said the after school curriculum is designed by its teachers and offers a broad array of activities. Some fun topics include STEM, literacy, art, archery, Boy Scouts, LEGO lab, and more. Tutoring and additional academic support are also available to students, and the courses are not graded, emphasizing the importance of learning in a stress-free environment.

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
New this year is a Boy Scouts of America Learning Zone Class at FIS. The 5th grade class was the first to participate, Monday.

The grant that makes this program possible is extensive, requiring detailed planning and budgeting, and it spans a five-year cycle. Over the years, it provides substantial funding, starting at $400,000 for each of the first three years and gradually reducing to $240,000 in the final year. The funds are utilized to cover everything from staffing to supplies and equipment.

What makes the Learning Zone truly special is its commitment to catering to students at all grade levels. It is also not limited to students enrolled in the district. Students currently being homeschooled or enrolled in a private school are welcome to join in on the activities. 

For homeschool or private school students interested in joining the after-school programs, Henson encourages them to contact him at the Fredericktown R-I District Office to explore possible participation options.

Victoria Kemper, Democrat News
Sue Mitchell teaches an adult Itchin’ to be Stitchin’ sewing class during Learning Zone at Fredericktown High School.

Furthermore, the Learning Zone extends its offerings to adults in the community. Adult classes include fitness classes, financial planning programs, adult reading courses, Google Classroom training, and more. These classes aim to engage parents and community members in lifelong learning opportunities.

Henson also said, participation in the Learning Zone is optional for teachers, and they are compensated for their time teaching the after-school classes.

As the new school year unfolds, the Learning Zone After School Program continues to be a shining example of how a community can come together to support its students’ academic and personal growth. With a commitment to excellence and a focus on engagement, it’s clear the Learning Zone will continue to thrive and positively impact the Fredericktown community for years to come.

“It’s a great after school program,” Henson said. “We feel like it’s something we do really well. This is the last year of the grant, so we are hoping to reapply and continue the program for years to come.”

The following is a list of adult classes offered at each building:

Fredericktown Elementary School (FES):

  • Game Night (Mondays, 5 to 7 PM, featuring card playing, board games, etc.)
  • Pickleball (Scheduled for the spring)

Fredericktown Intermediate School (FIS):

  • Adult Reading Course (Mondays and Tuesdays)
  • Adult Google Classroom Training (Thursdays)

Kelly A. Burlison Middle School (KABMS):

  • Strengthening Families (Beginning in a couple of weeks, 7-week program)

Fredericktown High School (FHS):

  • Holiday Happenings (Crafting) (Mondays)
  • Beginning Quilting (Mondays)
  • Adult Walking (Tuesdays and Thursdays)
  • Itchin’ to be Stitchin’ (Sewing) (Wednesdays)
  • Tracing Your Family Genealogy (Sept 26th-Oct 24th, 5-7 PM in the library)
  • Senior (Student) Seminar for all senior students and their grown-ups (last Wednesday of each month or as scheduled)
  • Sept 27th (SEMO rep) – How much does college cost, how can I pay for it, and how do I complete a college or job application?
  • Oct 16-17 & Oct 24-25 – ACT Prep
  • Oct 25th – How do I set up my FSA ID & what to know about the FAFSA
  • Nov 29th – College scholarships, writing essays, and local scholarship info night


Leave a Comment