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Kansas awards more than $8 million in support learning and discovery grants

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(The Center Square) – The Kansas Department for Children and Families awarded $8.1 million in grants to the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka and the Phillips Fundamental Learning Center in Wichita this week.

The funds came from the $18 million available via the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Community Capacity Grants, according to Governor Laura Kelly’s office.

“Ensuring our youngest Kansans and their families have access to opportunities like those offered by Phillips Fundamental Learning Center and the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center is critical to their educational development and our state’s success,” Kelly said in a press release. “These grants continue our progress to help Kansas’ children learn, grow, and achieve.”

DCF Secretary Laura Howard said the funding will provide valuable educational opportunities for children and families.

“At DCF, we believe that communities bring strength through relationships and resources,” Howard said in the release. “These organizations are doing just that by offering children and families opportunities to learn about the world around them in ways that best fit their abilities and needs.”

Kansas will distribute the other SPARK Community Capacity Grants later this summer.

The Phillips Fundamental Learning Center received $7,778,250 from the grant program to pay for the staffing, operating, and construction costs necessary to build a new multipurpose facility with broadband access.

The building will allow for in-person and virtual educational opportunities for, “acute needs, especially surrounding dyslexia, in addition to professors and pre-service educators at Kansas universities,” according to the release.

PFLC plans to start a pilot program with Kansas universities to provide a research-based, graduate-level accredited teacher training program for 300 individuals who want to become Dyslexia Intervention Specialists.

“The new center will also allow PFLC to double the number of students served by the Rolph Literacy Academy, a private day school for students with acute needs, especially surrounding dyslexia,” the release said. “PFLC leaders believe enrollment may grow to as many as 120 students.”

Additionally, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center will receive $333,655.

It will use the funding to replace several concrete panels negatively impacted by the settling of the building over the past 12 years. The center will replace them with a metal compost cladding system.

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