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Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region (CISDR) is thrilled to announce the preliminary award of a $1.48 million grant, known as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers/Texas ACE Cycle 11 through the US Department of Education. Thanks to this partnership, hundreds of students and their families in Dallas and Terrell ISD will benefit from safe and professional after-school care.

Terrell ISD will gain after-school programming at three elementary campuses, and Dallas ISD across seven elementary and middle school campuses. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers/Texas ACE Cycle 11 program will begin on these campuses no later than September 7th and will impact at least 750 students and their families throughout the 2021-2022 academic school year. The grant award encompasses 5 years of after-school and summer programming, offering academic enrichment, physical and health education, family engagement, and extracurricular programming.

This partnership was initiated in December of 2020 by Dr. Larry Polk, Assistant Superintendent of Student, Family, and Community Services at Terrell ISD. Adam Powell, CISDR President & CEO ,has worked with several principals in Dallas ISD to add their schools to the scope of work, including Dr. Gerardo Hernandez of Thomas J. Rusk Middle School. “These individuals were instrumental in ensuring the award of this highly competitive grant,” says Adam Powell, President and CEO of CISDR. “As we are still deep in the waters of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative that our kids and their families receive the support they need to move forward. We are tremendously thankful to the Texas Ace Cycle 11 team for allowing us to impact more lives this 2021-22 school year.”

Neketha Polley, ACE Program Director and Jaziel Corona-Aguilar, ACE Family Engagement Specialist.

CISDR is one of only three Communities In Schools affiliates in the State of Texas to be awarded this grant in Cycle 11. As part of the award, CISDR has hired a Program Director, a Family Engagement Specialist, and is in the process of hiring 10 after-school Site Coordinators. Neketha Polley, ACE Program Director, comes to CISDR with 6 years of experience in the 21st CCLC grant program with another entity. Neketha’s background and education is in criminal justice, primarily working in parole offices. During her time in this field, Neketha realized many of the young people she encountered never had a caring, healthy relationship with an adult during their formative years. This realization led Neketha to pursue a career in after-school education in order to get ahead of the problem of youth incarceration, instead of working on the back end of the process. Neketha provided CISDR with the following quote, speaking about her excitement for the upcoming school year: “It has been my pleasure to serve the children, make partnerships with parents (that have become an extension to my family) and be an active part of the communities I served through the ACE program. I am excited and optimistic that the students in Dallas ISD and Terrell ISD will have this same experience through the Texas 21st century ACE grant.”