116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Before- and after-school child care will be available at all Cedar Rapids elementary and middle schools beginning next year with the addition of a new independent contractor KCE Champions LLC.
The Cedar Rapids Community School District board approved a one-year agreement with the company on Monday in the consent agenda with no discussion.
The Cedar Rapids district does not currently have before- and after-school programming at all of its elementary and middle school buildings, and the program it does have is not “consistent,” Deputy Superintendent Nicole Kooiker said in an email.
“We had parent requests for opportunities for extended learning and also programming that would be more affordable and accessible for our students and families,” Kooiker said.
The agreement with Champions will provide extended learning opportunities for Cedar Rapids students and families and will include before- and after-school programming, summer programming and wraparound services for preschool students at Truman Early Childhood Center.
There are multiple schools in Cedar Rapids with waiting lists for students who do not currently have before- and after-school care, Kooiker said. Kooiker expects Champions to be able to serve every elementary and middle school student who is interested.
The district has struggled in staffing in all areas and the district expects a greater demand for before- and after-school child care with the opening of the Truman Early Childhood Center this fall.
Right now, the district works with multiple partners to provide before- and after-school care. Kooiker said the district is looking for ways to continue working with these partners.
"There is more demand for before- and after-school child care than the district's current providers are able to support. This is an opportunity to expand our programming for families,“ Superintendent Noreen Bush said.
The Iowa City Community School District started using Champions for before- and after-school programs in 2019. Champions currently is operating in four Iowa City schools and serves about 100 students in each building.
Kristin Pedersen, Iowa City schools’ director of community relations, said Champions has been great to work with and is flexible to meet the needs of families and students.
"They went above and beyond“ when schools were forced to move to online learning at points during the 2020-21 school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pedersen said.
“They found space and opened up centers to support working parents, including parents who work at (the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics),” Pedersen said.
Champions serves more than 40,000 children in 21 states.
Its before- and after-school programs curriculum for K-6 focuses on social-emotional skills, executive-function skills and inquiry-based learning. Its preschool curriculum for 3- and 4-year-olds helps students build confidence and encourage them to become problem solvers and lifelong learners.
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