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Alexandria Public Schools to Open Four More After-School Learning Clubs Thanks to $900,000 Grant

Alexandria, Va. — ACPS is establishing four new after-school LINK Clubs to help bridge academic gaps after winning almost $900,000 in federal funding.

Thanks to the award, an additional 375 students from across the city will have access to the program, which keeps learning alive with qualified teachers in the afternoons.

The effort is a collaboration between ACPS and community partners with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers and serves to bolster students who are experiencing academic and other challenges.

This can include English Learners, those with disabilities, and those from economically challenged households.

Shanna Samson, Assistant Director of the ACPS Office of School, Business and Community Partnerships designed the LINK Club format and secured the $892,741 in grant money.

“We are so excited to be able to offer more students the chance to join our LINK Clubs, which we feel can make a huge difference to our students who may need a little extra support,” she said.

“We are confident we have created a model that helps our school division wrap its arms around students in an environment that is authentic and builds trust. This is foundational to the academic achievement and development of our students and families. It is grounded in equity and it is at the core of our mission as a school division to ensure that every child succeeds.”


Staffed by the division’s teachers between 3-6 p.m. each school day, the schedule includes a  power hour with extra tutoring, homework help and mentoring.

Enrichment opportunities range from theater, to STEM to soccer and chess. A dinner is always provided by the ACPS School Nutrition Services department.

ACPS was fortunate to win four out of 28 available grants awarded across Virginia.

The new clubs will be up and running at the end of the month and serving:

  • 75 qualifying K-8th grade students who attend Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School and with preference given to those who reside in Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority communities.
  • 150 qualifying students from 1st through 12th grade who attend George Mason Elementary School, Mount Vernon Community School, George Washington Middle School or T.C. Williams High School, and reside in the Arlandria neighborhood. It will be run in partnership with Community Lodgings.
  • 100 qualifying K-5th grade students at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School.
  • 100 qualifying 6th-8th grade students at Francis C. Hammond Middle School.


The first LINK Club running at Brent Place, an affordable housing community in the Landmark area of the city, began in 2017 with a $179,271 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Of the 55 students it serves from Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School and Patrick Henry K-8 School, 100% are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, 100% are students of color, 46% are English Learners and 20% are students with a disability.

There are still spots available for students to participate in the LINK Club at the Francis C. Hammond and Jefferson-Houston programs. Anyone interested in applying can fill out an application form or contact the appropriate school for more information.


Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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