Arizona Republic
October 27, 2006

Author: Laura Houston, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2

The last time Holly Northcott counted, 17 languages were spoken by students at Glendale's Glenn F. Burton Elementary School.

Roughly 90 percent of the school's 600-plus students eat free or reduced-fee lunches. More than half of those students speak English as a second language, said Northcott, the school's assistant principal.

To help these students get a firmer grasp on what they learn in the classroom, the school applied for a federal grant distributed by the state that funds after-school tutoring and recreation.

Northcott credits the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant with helping the school make greater achievements in state testing than it has in recent memory. The focus falls on students who are falling behind or are not up to grade level for reading or math, Northcott said.

It all starts when the bell rings at the end of every day.

Kids can come one day or stay after-school every day all year long, as long as they receive parent approval. Glenn F. Burton is one of seven schools currently receiving the funding in Glendale Elementary School District.

The district received $5 million in its first year, with that amount shrinking each succeeding year to encourage districts to find their own funding sources through business and community partnerships, said Marcus McCarty, who oversees the district's program.
Edition: Final
Section: Phoenix Community North