By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

The Trousdale County school system is seeking a state grant to continue its afterschool program for elementary students.

The Lottery for Education: Afterschool Programs (LEAP) grant provides three years of funding, and the county has utilized those grants since beginning the program nine years ago. By state law, the funding comes from unclaimed winnings in the Tennessee lottery.

Trousdale County’s afterschool program provides 15 hours of instruction each week, running from 2:45-5:45 p.m., in three categories: tutoring/homework, physical education/nutrition and social/emotional learning.

“We had already been dipping in (social/emotional), said Kathy Atwood, who runs the afterschool program. “Volunteer Behavioral Health provided us with a program, and we have been using it. That is one of the buzzwords with learning right now.”

Atwood said the afterschool program tries to be “fun” for participating students.

“One day we have a STEM teacher who does science experiments with the kids,” Atwood said. “Another day we have art, we have a librarian one day, and our social/emotional one day.

Students who come get 30-60 minutes of tutoring, 30 minutes of computer time, 30 minutes of physical activity and 30 minutes of enrichment, according to Atwood. There are also snacks for students and free-play time, “to just be kids for a little while,” Atwood said.

Trousdale County also provides transportation for afterschool students within the city limits, something not every school system does.

The program currently serves 120 students in grades K-5, and has a waiting list of 35-40 students.

Atwood said the program even utilizes high school juniors and seniors as peer models for younger children.

“Our teenagers set good examples for our younger students,” Atwood said. “They’re talking about the senior trip, going to college, what they’ve got to do. It’s also good with scholarship building.”

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield said the afterschool program is one of the things he takes the most pride in during his tenure.

“I think it’s one of the most impactful things we do in our school district,” Satterfield said. “We have a lot of latchkey kids. It’s extending the school day and we’re able to influence those children positively.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.