ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Education is awarding $321,500 in Building Opportunities in Out-of-School Time (BOOST) grants aimed at providing extended learning opportunities for students in foster care, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced last week. The BOOST grants were made possible through federal stimulus funds under the American Rescue Plan (ARP-ESSR).

“The BOOST grants align with our commitment to ensure access to a well-rounded education for every child in every part of our state,” Superintendent Woods said. “It is imperative that we provide Georgia children the best opportunity to succeed, and this round of funding will help us support the needs of often-underserved students in the foster care system.”

The awards will go to: Camp Twin Lakes, Dalton State College, Future Seekers, Inc., Georgia Tech- CEISMC, Savannah State University, South Georgia Starz Academy, and Valdosta State University- STEM Summer Program for Foster Students.

At its June meeting, the State Board of Education approved Superintendent Woods’ recommendation to award funding to seven organizations that serve foster youth. The goal of the BOOST grants is to increase access to afterschool, summer, and out-of-school learning; reduce barriers; and increase program quality, including connecting summer residential programs in university settings to local community-based organizations for partnerships and support. GADOE will partner with the Afterschool Network to administer the grants.

Partners have been identified in two groups: the University System of Georgia Summer Program Series for Youth Experiencing Foster Care and nonprofit community providers that service state group homes. Based on performance, organizations will be recommended for a new grant award for summer 2024 to continue supporting youth in foster care.

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