Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers

School Support and Accountability


Formula Grants

Program Description

This program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local academic standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

21st CCLC Announcements and Events

25th Anniversary of 21st CCLC Funding

This year, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program celebrates its 25th Anniversary of funding.  Beginning as a discretionary grant in 1998, the 21st CCLC funding transitioned to a formula grant in 2002, serving afterschool programming in 54 States and territories.  Over the course of 25 years, programs have provided students in high-need, high-poverty communities the opportunity to participate in afterschool programming in which academic enrichment and youth development activities are designed to enhance participants’ well-being and academic success.

The 21st CCLC Program was renamed the Nita M. Lowey 21st CCLC Program in the FY 2020 appropriations bill (PL 116-94, Sec. 310; December 20, 2019) in honor of the former Congresswoman’s advocacy and commitment to afterschool programming.  To date, we have over 10,652 centers serving approximately 965,000 students and over 200,000 adults and families.

2023 Summer Symposium

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) is pleased to announce the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program 2023 Summer Symposium. This event, hosted by OESE’s Office of School Support and Accountability (OSSA), will convene in person July 19-20, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Summer Symposium features successful strategies that SEAs and their grantees can use to implement and manage all components of a 21st CCLC program. Attendees will hear from nationally recognized speakers during plenary sessions and work closely with education experts and peers during interactive workshops. SEAs and grantees will gain valuable perspectives on afterschool issues and receive important updates about the 21st CCLC program.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating 21st CCLC Resilience: Yesterday, Today, and Beyond”. Ideas for building on individual and collective strengths are woven throughout each of the following symposium strands:

  • Changemakers: Youth Tell Their Stories
  • College and Career Ready: Fully Present and Future Focused
  • Great Leaders Track: Recognizing and Cultivating Others’ Potential
  • Howdy, Partners: Families, Schools, and Communities Circle the Wagons for Students
  • Human-Centered and Personalized Learning Approaches
  • Life Experience Counts: Voices From the Field
  • Lighting the Flame: The Power of Interdisciplinary Connections
  • Positive Learning Environments: Physical, Social, and Emotional Considerations

Additional Symposium details, including logistics information and registration, will be available this spring. Meanwhile, if you have questions about the Summer Symposium, please contact Dr. La’ Shawndra Scroggins at

Student Artwork Contest

The U.S. Department of Education (the Department) is creating a new opportunity to showcase student artwork at the 2023 Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Summer Symposium being held July 19-20, 2023, in New Orleans, LA. Selected artwork by your 21st CCLC grantees’ students may be featured in printed conference materials, as part of displays at on-site or off-site locations, and digitally as part of the program website. Your State is invited to submit up to three pieces of artwork for the Department’s consideration.

What items can you submit? 

You may submit images of student artwork, photographs, or creations. As long as it can be photographed, it can be submitted! Submissions should reflect the theme for the Summer Symposium: “Celebrating 21st CCLC Resilience: Yesterday, Today, and Beyond.”

Who decides what items to submit? 

Your State is responsible for selecting and submitting items to the Department. 

Who may submit artwork?

States are invited to submit artwork created by PreK-12 students participating in a 21st CCLC program. Submissions can be by individual students or be a group project.

How do you submit items?  

Go to and complete the online submission form. You will need to submit a hi-resolution JPEG or PNG file and provide the following information:

  • Program Name
  • Program Contact Information
  • Student artist names and grades

How will the final artwork be selected? 

The Department will review submissions using a scoring rubric based on their relation to the Symposium’s theme and the overall goals of the 21st CCLC program. The Department will select one image to be featured in Summer Symposium branding, with the option to include other submissions in other Symposium materials or activities. To view the scoring rubric, go to

What’s the deadline? 

Please submit up to three items by Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 8 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Thank you!  

The Department appreciates all you do on behalf of students and families, and we look forward to reviewing your State’s submissions. We hope you plan to join us at the Symposium, where we’ll be celebrating 25 years of 21st CCLC program funding! If you have questions or comments about this invitation, please send them to Leed Management Consulting, Inc. (LMCi) at LMCi is coordinating the collection of student artwork submissions on behalf of the Department. 

Grantee Spotlight

The Department is pleased to spotlight programs being implemented using 21st CCLC funds. 

Arizona Elementary Students Engaging Participating in NASA Challenge

Elementary students from Salida del Sol Elementary School in Yuma, AZ worked on the NASA Engineering Design Challenge, Astro Socks, during the NASA/21st Century Community Learning Center’s after school program.

Students designed and tested an Astro Sock for astronaut to wear on board the International Space Station (ISS). Students used their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills along with the engineering design process (EDP) to investigate the following question: How can our team develop footwear for the ISS astronauts that will both protect and provide comfort for their feet while they live and work in space? Students stated, “it was great because we got to work with materials we never used before and make new friends.”

Students shared their conversation with NASA engineer, Miss Linda Yoon during a virtual connection. “She made sure our thoughts were correct on the Astro socks, that things were precise and we knew what we were doing. She taught us to have courage in ourselves and she told us to be careful and pushed us towards a NASA career”.

Once their team designed and built the Astro Sock prototype, they conducted pressure point tests using the test rig, sensor sock, and test sled. Using the results from the prototype tests, the team modified and improved the Astro Sock prototype so that the pressure at each pressure sensor is reduced, making astronauts’ feet more comfortable as they secure themselves in the foot restraints.  You can watch the students’ video here.

New York High School Students and Staff: Why Is Afterschool Important to You?

The 21st Century Program run by Fund for the City of New York Inc (Project # 8089) with lead partner Zone 126 serves grades 9 through 12 at Long Island City High School in the Queens area of New York City. The mission of the program is to connect the community, Long Island City High School students, and service providers to provide educational enrichment and overall student supports through intentional programming. Current programming includes activities for students in Graphic Design, Drumming Circle, Dance and more. The program director, Coreen Robledo, comes with many years of experience in after school and the arts. The program staff and students created an awesome submission to Lights on After School highlighting the arts programming at Long Island City High School. The video also helped the program gain more interest from students. The staff and students are off to a great start!

 Please note, no official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, or enterprise mentioned herein is intended or should be inferred.

  • Dr. La' Shawndra Scroggins
    School Support and Accountability Programs
    U.S. Department of Education, OESE
    400 Maryland Ave. SW,
    Washington D.C. 20202-6132