For the second consecutive year, the Department of Parks, Buildings & Recreation Management (DPBRM) was notified by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that it was awarded a highly competitive grant for $107,252 to expand an innovative, six-week robotic program at Van Sickle Middle School for 144 youth who participated in one of last summer’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs.
Patrick J. Sullivan, Executive Director of DPBRM, said, “The Recreation Division’s successfully implemented last year’s grant at Van Sickle Middle School and was recognized state-wide for preparing students to learn the skills needed to be successful during their school year; as well as, being introduced to technology-based careers for their future.”
Paula Thayer, Assistant Director of the Recreation Division, added, “There were only four districts in the Commonwealth who were invited to apply for this grant. Last summer, we were evaluated extensively by DESE and Wellesley College’s National Center for Out of School Time. We, once again, credit our success to a strong partnership with Springfield College, the Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Van Sickle’s Principal Cheryl DeSpirt, and a very talented, dedicated staff.”
Springfield’s Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said, “The City’s Recreation Division’s planning team explicitly designed a summer program to build on our City’s youth assets, prevent summer learning loss, and increase time on learning through meaningful enrichment activities.” He smiled and added, “What child doesn’t like a chance to learn about robotics while having fun, and still be able to have the best summer ever.”