|For Immediate Release|
|Friday, October 11, 1996|
Massachusetts department of Education Receives Federal Grants to Support School and Community Literacy, Nutrition, and Charter School Programs
Malden - Massachusetts received three competitive federal grants this month totalling $$1.37 million to support on-going state education initiatives, Education Commissioner Robert V. Antonucci announced today.
The three grants awarded to the Department of Education will support community programs for family literacy, training schools and staff in nutrition education, and charter school initiatives, Antonucci said.
"These grants reflect the Department's continuing commitment to actively compete for federal grants to support this state's educational improvement agenda," Antonucci said. "The fact that we have been successful in getting federal support is another indication that Massachusetts is viewed as a national leader in education."
Antonucci added that "as long as federal grant programs are competitive, we will compete aggressively to return these funds to Massachusetts to help our schools."
In each of the past four years, the Massachusetts Department of Education has received over $12 million in grants from federal and private sources.
The largest single grant was the$1 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to support the state's 25 charter schools. Massachusetts was one of 19 states to receive funding under the $18 million Public Charter School Program created last year by Congress. Massachusetts was awarded one of the largest state grants, which ranged from $250,000 to $1.25 million.
Last year, Massachusetts received an $829,000 charter school grant and was one of only 10 states to receive first-year funding. Funds from the grant will help charter schools with start up expenses, such as books, teaching materials, and facilities. Funds will also be used by the schools to research and develop accountability measures to enable the state to gauge the success of each charter school in meeting its goals.
Charter schools are public schools authorized by the state to operate independently of school committees. The schools began operating in 1995 as part of the Education Reform Act to assist the state's public schools develop new models of teaching and learning.
Massachusetts also received a $230,000, 18-month grant from the U.S. Department of Education for its "Family Literacy -- Family Success" program to improve literacy skills in children and their families. Under the program, the DOE will unite community organizations in Massachusetts that now work exclusively with adults or children so that their efforts to improve literacy can focus on the family as a whole.
Finally, efforts by the DOE to improve children's nutrition also received a boost from the federal government, Antonucci said. An innovative state program to help public schools strengthen their school lunch and classroom health program received $144,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Massachusetts was one of 17 states to receive these funds.
Part of the award will establish a nutrition site on the Internet offering school staff nutrition training. The DOE will also work with schools to assist local cafeteria staff develop materials to connect the nutrition and health instruction given students in the classroom.