21st Century Community Learning Centers

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program was established by Congress under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The passage of the Public Law 107-110 (NCLBA of 2001), significantly amended the ESEA to expand state and local accountability and flexibility and to stress the adoption of research-based practice, substantially changing the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

The laws specific purposes are to: (1) provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students (particularly students in high-poverty areas and those who attend low-performing schools) meet State and local student performance standards in core academic subjects such as reading and mathematics; (2) offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, and recreation programs, technology education programs, and character education programs, that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students; and (3) offer families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for literacy and related educational development.

The purpose of Maine’s 21st CCLC program is to establish or expand “Community Learning Centers” that provide students with academic enrichment opportunities along with activities designed to complement the students’ regular academic program. Community learning centers must also offer families of these students literacy and related educational development. Centers – which can be located in elementary or secondary schools or other similarly accessible facilities – provide a range of high-quality services to support student learning and development, including tutoring and mentoring, homework help, academic enrichment (such as hands-on science or technology programs), and community service opportunities, as well as music, arts, sports and cultural activities. At the same time, centers help working parents by providing a safe environment for students during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.