SAYRE — Three Bradford County school districts will receive $1 million apiece over the next five years thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the 21st Century Community Learning Center.

Dr. Tricia Tietjen, the director of special education for the Sayre Area School District, wrote the grant that will help Athens, Sayre and Wyalusing implement after-school programs for their students.

“Basically what this gives students (kindergarten through eighth grade) is after-school programming for three hours a day,” said Tietjen. “It’s free of charge and we provide transportation. There will be a site at each school district location, so the Wyalusing students will stay in Wyalusing, Athens will stay in Athens and Sayre will obviously stay in Sayre.”

The funding will provide after school programming options for students identified as being “at-risk” based on academic benchmarks, standardized testing, social-emotional status as well as based on teacher recommendation, according to a press release from the Sayre school district.

The $600,000 a year grant will be split between the three districts over the next five years.

The ACTION After-school program will focus on Social-Emotional Learning, STEM activities (science, technology, engineering, math), after-school tutoring, wellness and nutrition education as well as financial literacy.

“It’s a great opportunity for our kids,” said Tietjen, who collaborated with personnel from Athens and Wyalusing while writing the grant.

One important part of the new program will be involving the families of the students, according to Tietjen.

“We’re trying to engage families in their child’s education, so there will be a calendar that comes out solely for parents,” said Tietjen. “There’s the financial literacy piece, parenting skills, homework strategies and study strategies that parents can come and learn about.”

The school districts have teamed up with local businesses and groups like Global Tungsten and Powders Co., Bradford/Sullivan Drug and Alcohol, Citizens and Northern Bank, Mansfield University, Merakey, The Nutrition Group, Penn State Wilkes-Barre Northern Tier, Valley Youth Soccer, local 4-H chapters, Greater Valley EMS, Serve Inc., Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies, Coach LLC and the Abuse and Rape Crisis Center in order to implement the programs.

“The Sayre School District is excited for this opportunity to partner with local school districts and businesses to provide after-school enrichment opportunities for our students,” a press release from the Sayre school district said.

Pat McDonald can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 228 or

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