District get bonus grant

Jan. 07, 2013 @ 09:28 AM

The county school district has earned an unexpected  $5 million bonus to a $30 million federal school reform grant for digital learning.

The district will receive an additional $5.2 million in optional grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, district officials announced this week.  The district’s total Race to the Top grant award will grow to $35,222,003.
Over the next two years, district leaders will select randomly 10 to 15 of the district’s 24 middle schools to get tablet computers by December. After a review, the remaining schools will get tablets the following year.
The technology will combine textbook information and Internet resources in one device. Students also will be able to access information about their academic performance as they study through the year.
“Our vision is to personalize and digitalize learning for all students, staff, parents and community volunteers,” said Superintendent Mo Green. “These additional grant awards represent a significant step forward in this process.”
The additional funds will support the district’s personalized learning initiative in middle schools through three programs:
• Parent Academy — An  additional $1.9 million will pay for 10 tablet devices per middle school for parents to assist children with homework or advance their own learning.
• African-American Male Achievement —  An additional $1.6 million will support professional learning communities focused on raising the academic achievement of targeted students. School teams in six elementary schools will address achievement barriers, including low expectations, limited time for planning and collaboration, or lack of culturally relevant curriculum. Parkview Elementary is a project pilot school.
• Virtual Middle School — Students who would be the first in their families to attend college will be targeted with a $1.6 million recruitment effort for the new school.
“The district is on the move, and I’m pleased that the hard work and dedication of so many has been recognized yet again by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Terrence Young, the district’s chief information officer.
Young led the district grant team that secured the federal grant and optional budget funds.

Performance: School officials credit digital devices with achievement gains at Montlieu Elementary Academy of Technology in High Point where students achieved a 9 percent gain in literacy, an 11 percent boost in math and a 25 percent gain in science after starting a pilot digital learning program.