Montgomery Village students offered life skills lessons -- Gazette.Net


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Beginning this school year, students at Montgomery Village Middle School will have an exciting reason to stick around after classes have been let out for the day.

Excel Beyond the Bell, a public-private partnership that coordinates an abundance of after-school programming for youth to promote positive development, is expanding to the Montgomery Village school.

From September to May, students will have the opportunity to learn necessary academic and life skills by participating in a wide variety of free activities ranging from dance and yoga to digital media and outdoor leadership programs, according to Judy Stiles, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Recreation.

A hot supper also will be served during each session and school bus transportation home is available at the end.

The program, which is a joint effort between Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, Montgomery County Department of Recreation and Montgomery County Public Schools, will be offered from 2:45 to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Montgomery Village Middle was chosen as the newest program site in part because of its heightened need for out-of-school activities to serve at-risk children.

“As we continue this expansion we are implementing the programs in schools that have identified neighborhoods with vulnerable populations,” Stiles wrote in an email to The Gazette.

First launched in 2008, the program already has been put into action at Argyle, A. Mario Loiederman and Col. E. Brooke Lee middle schools in Silver Spring, Roberto Clemente and Neelsville middle schools in Germantown and Forest Oak Middle School in Gaithersburg.

The Department of Recreation has allotted $217,959 in its fiscal 2015 budget to cover the programming, staffing and activities at Montgomery Village Middle, Stiles said, and the county’s public school system is contributing funds to pay for transportation and facility costs.

It was unclear Monday how much money Montgomery County Public Schools has directed to the program in its fiscal 2015 budget.

Staffing for the program is a combination of Department of Recreation employees and local nonprofit partners, Stiles said, which helps to increase the number of activities offered.

While Excel Beyond the Bell is free and open to the school’s entire student body, program organizers are hoping to reach at least 60 youths each day.

“The target is to serve 60 to 80 kids per day,” Stiles wrote. “On a weekly basis there are opportunities to serve approximately 300 children.”

Interested students can register through the after-school coordinator at Montgomery Village Middle during the first week of school, which begins on Aug. 25.

jedavis@gazette.net