Learning Beyond the Classroom(Garrett County FY18 and Beyond) - Annual

What Works

What works for the Learning Beyond (LBTC) the Classroom program:

  • The bus attracts the attention of the community while encouraging participation
  • Participation has exceeded the original target measure for the last three years
  • The manner in which services and activities are provided allows for greater access to residents in remote locations of Garrett County
What We Do

The Learning Beyond the Classroom Bus Provides:

  • Each child/family served by the LBTC bus receives a backpack with healthy food at each stop
  • The LBTC bus provides families with internet service to pay bills, search for jobs, and connect to services
  • The WGW Community Youth Cup Foundation helps provide resources to promote childhood literacy and reduce hunger
  • Garrett Technologies donates essential hygiene items that are distributed to families in need
  • Maryland Extension Office provides families with ideas for healthy meals and nutrition

The partners involved with the Learning Beyond the Classroom program include the Garrett County Local Management Board, Garrett County Public Schools, which partners collaboratively with Early Childhood Education through Overlook Judy Center and Head Start/Early Head Start programs, Department of Social Services, Garrett County Community Action Committee, Inc., Towns of Kitzmiller; Friendsville; Bloomington; Grantsville; Avilton Community Center; Glades Pavilion at Glades Apartment Complex in Oakland; Crellin; and Pleasant Valley Community Center. 

Program Summary

Learning Beyond the Classroom is a mobile outreach program utilizing a retired, hollowed-out school bus that has been transformed into a classroom. The bus is fitted with everything necessary to function as a classroom, lending library, food bank and internet provider with computer access, and outside agency visitations that help families make connections to resources. The goals for the Learning Beyond the Classroom program are driven by the needs of the population in Garrett County and include increasing school readiness for children ages 0-5, providing fine arts programs, and providing feeding programs for families in need. The mobile classroom visits ten (10) sites throughout Garrett County during the third week of every month. These sites have been determined to have a high percentage of children ages 0-5 that are not currently enrolled in an early child care program with limited access to food, transportation, and resources.

Target Population

The target population for the Learning Beyond the Classroom (LBTC) program includes ten (10) rural areas in Garrett County that have limited access to food, transportation, and early care programs.  The population was identified based on low-income housing environments and proximity to food sources.  Most of the participants of the program live ten miles or more from the nearest grocery store and have limited transportation resources.  Flyers and information about the program are distributed by partners which include Garrett County Community Action, Department of Social Services, Garrett County Health Department, The Ruth Enlow Library, and the WGW Community Youth Cup Foundation.  Reducing Childhood Hunger is the program priority defined by the Governor and served by the Learning Beyond the Classroom program.  The program is also promoted through Facebook and on the mygarrettcounty.com platform.

Data Discussion

For FY22:  The Learning Beyond the Classroom (LBTC) Judy Center team implemented several new protocols to begin quarter four.  A new procedure was executed to identify families in need of services and establish Pathway plans.  In addition, increased outreach was conducted to create awareness for Learning Beyond the Classroom events.  Attendance more than doubled in the fourth quarter due to an increase in outreach, as well as flexible summer schedules for families.  LBTC continues to plan programs around the whole family with a focus on learning activities aligned with Maryland Early Learning Standards.  Family service coordinators continue to address specific family needs on an as-needed basis.  LBTC continues to build awareness for PK/K registration, Early Head Start & Head Start registration, summer programming, child care provider openings, and local community resources.  

For HFY1 22:  

The Learning Beyond the Classroom program continues to offer in-person events with COVID protocols in place.  Due to the increase in COVID cases within Garrett County, participation has been down when comparing data to previous years.  The LBTC program continues to focus on the whole child.  This outlook makes the entire family a vital part of the program.  The staff continue to utilize the Life Skills Progression Scale to monitor impact among participating families.  There is also an increased effort to create more awareness of school readiness skills with new and exciting activities!

For FY21:  

The goals of the Learning Beyond the Classroom program remain the focus of services and outreach.  Through the mobile platform, the bus continues to reach families that would be excluded from school-based events due to transportation issues.  With continued community teamwork and partnerships, the LBTC program continues to meet the unique needs of families including food security issues, early childhood developmental concerns, health/vision/dental screenings, and school readiness.  The bus returned to in-person programming in May at all locations.  

For HFY1 21:  

Despite the virtual platform, the Learning Beyond the Classroom program has still been able to provide families with opportunities to hone in on school readiness skills, promote family engagement, and make an impact on reducing childhood hunger.  Virtual playgroups are provided weekly and made readily available to families through the use of the program's social media pages.  The LBTC program has successfully managed and implemented a Drive-by Giveaway event to gain short face-to-face interactions.  The Drive-by Events occur on Wednesday of the third week of the month at the following locations:

  • Friendsville Fire Hall 9:30 am-11:00 am
  • Grantsville Senior Center 12:30 pm-2:00 pm
  • Overlook Judy Center 9:30 am -11:00 am
  • Overlook Judy Center 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

During these events, families stay in their vehicles and are supplied with a bag of healthy food, books, a learning activity, and craft.  The Learning Beyond the Classroom program continues to be offered at no cost to the family.  Communication lines remain open between the program and families via phone, email, and social media.  Because of limited face-to-face contact with families, pathway planning was not possible at this time.  

For FY20:

Wrapping up the fifth year, the Learning Beyond the Classroom program had to finish out the year with a different model than in the past.  Due to COVID-19, events became virtual experiences.  The renovated classroom on wheels had to remain parked during the months of March through July, but services and outreach continued.  School readiness totes were delivered to children ages birth to age 5 and five weekly virtual playgroups were readily available to families online.  Families were given access to two trained family service coordinators during the COVID-19 lockdown connecting families to local resources.  Because the bus could not be used, this affected every performance measure in the 3rd quarter as nothing was done but planning during that period of time.  The 4th quarter totals were mostly virtual with doorstep dropoffs of food and educational packets.  


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