UG & EPIC Academy Awarded $150K for 21st Century Community Learning Center in South Chicago

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IL State Board of Education Grant to Fund Robust Out-of-School Programming

Urban Gateways: Center for Arts Education in partnership with EPIC Academy Charter Public School has been awarded a $150K multi-year grant by the Illinois State Board of Education to create a 21st Century Learning Center (CCLC) at EPIC Academy in South Chicago.

The 3-year grant will provide $150K per year, which is the maximum amount that can be awarded by the ISBE, for increased after-school arts activities, academic support in concentrated disciplines, character development, and increased parental support for EPIC Academy and the enveloping South Chicago community.

The EPIC 21st Century Learning Center will be managed by Urban Gateways and will offer a broad range of high-quality activities that advance academic achievement, promote positive youth development, and encourage parental involvement. These activities, to be offered before and after school, as well as on weekends, include:

Intensives in the disciplines of history, science, math, language arts, and Spanish; Arts programming in digital media, dance, visual arts, and spoken word; Clubs that address topics such as self-esteem, health and healthy lifestyles, sexuality, dating and dating safety, and college and career readiness; Sports that are not typically included in school day physical education; Field trips to cultural and educational institutions, including college visits; and Family workshops that address social services and enrichment activities. “EPIC Academy is thrilled about the partnership with Urban Gateways because it allows us to offer high-quality after-school programs for our students. This collaboration will support EPIC’s curriculum of project-based learning while giving students an opportunity to cultivate their appreciation of the arts,” said EPIC Academy Principal Matthew King.

Urban Gateways is currently the lead partner in five 21st Century Learning Centers (CCLC), including EPIC Academy. The goal of the CCLCs, also called Community Schools, is to become an academic, cultural and civic hub for the schools and their surrounding communities. “Urban Gateways looks forward to working with EPIC Academy – its administration, staff, students, parents and community members – to develop programs and services in the arts and beyond that address their unique needs as a school and community,” said Jordan LaSalle, Urban Gateways Director of Community Programs.

Other Urban Gateways Community Schools include: Greeley Elementary School in Lakeview, New Sullivan Elementary School in South Chicago, Owens Community Academy in West Pullman and Sherman School of Excellence in Englewood.


About Urban Gateways Urban Gateways is one of the largest and most comprehensive arts education organizations in the country and a recipient of the White House’s “Medal of Arts.” For 50 years, Urban Gateways has brought the arts into the lives of millions of disadvantaged children in Chicago. We fulfill our mission – to ignite the creative potential of all young people – by providing high-quality, customized programming before, during and after school to more than 100,000 Chicago-area youth each year in the areas of literary, media, performing and visual arts.

About EPIC Academy EPIC Academy Charter Public School, an Expeditionary Learning School, is a high school located in the South Chicago neighborhood. EPIC Academy’s mission is to prepare each student with the 21st century skills necessary to revolutionize society and ensure a heroic journey of college and career success. EPIC’s curriculum emphasizes project-based learning that link course work to real world experiences. Established in 2009, EPIC Academy is currently the home to a diverse student body of over 300 students. For more information, please visit: