District 63's Expanded Learning Programs grew out of its long-standing Total Learning Community (TLC) -- a vital and integral part of the entire community since its inception in June 2001. Founded by Pam Surber, who served as TLC's Director for nearly 15 years before retiring in 2015, the program grew to offer an award-winning afterschool program.
TLC began when the District was awarded three years of federal funding based on demonstrated needs in the community for high quality, safe after school and community education programs. We have been very successful at providing a wide array of expanded learning and enrichment opportunities for children, parents, families, and all community members during out-of-school time.
In previous years TLC facilitated classes for our community MaineStreamers on how to use computers, offered field trips for families, sponsored family literacy programs and ESL classes and to help ensure a healthy future for families in Maine Township. We expanded from two programs now serving all seven of our District 63 schools in 2016. We step into the new year with a renewed plan to serve our schools and our community. Last school year we renewed our presence at Gemini by providing an after school program for our 7th and 8th graders. We also started a new club, the broadcast club or WGEM. We continue our open gym Gemini program on Saturdays and Mondays. Some of the programs offered at Gemini are: Scholastic Bowl, Homework Help Hub, STEAM Lab, Coding programs, while continuing the open gym and basketball and volleyball leagues.
With a name change in 2016 to "Expanded Learning," the program has expanded our involvement throughout the school district to serve all of our youth and families. The new name better describes the wide variety of opportunities offered to the community -- from basketball leagues and our Summer Fun & Learning Program to Spring Fling and our core service, the afterschool program.
We intend on continuing this growth until all of our youth have a safe fun environment where they can learn, connect with other youth, and learn from great role models. Our expanded learning programs will grow to serve our youth based on their age appropriate needs. We will provide services to help expanded learning and empower our youth with leadership opportunities.