|For Immediate Release|
|Monday, January 7, 2002|
|Contact:||Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Jonathan Palumbo 781-338-3105|
$2.5 million grant available for support programs for class of 2003
MALDEN - State education officials plan to give out $2.5 million in grant money next month to schools, businesses, community organizations, adult education providers or colleges that propose new, innovative proposals of ways to serve the needs of the students in the class of 2003.
The money is earmarked exclusively for new programs in literacy and mathematics. Preference will be given to proposals to serve students whose first language is not English, and for juniors who scored at 214 or below on the English and/or math MCAS exams.
"Many students have abilities that are too often several grade levels below that of their peers, and most schools just don't have the technical expertise needed to bring them up to speed quickly," said Education Committee Chairman and State Sen. Robert Antonioni, D-Leominster. "This will allow us to partner our public school remediation efforts with other institutions that have this expertise."
Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll agreed, and said he is hopeful the grant money will be used to alleviate barriers, such as transportation and day care needs, that keep students from attending strong school support programs where they can gain the skills they need.
"One of our biggest challenges has been in finding ways to get our most challenged students added opportunities to learn core skills after school and in the summertime," Driscoll said. "This is an opportunity for people with new ideas from both inside and outside of our schools to help us meet that goal."
Programs can be sited anywhere, including schools, community centers and workplaces, and can take place anytime through August 31, including summer vacation. High schools in which more than 30 percent of the students in the class of 2003 failed at least one MCAS exam are given funding priority.
The money can be used for teacher salaries, consultant and contract fees, program supplies, tutorial software or for incentives that remove barriers to student participation.
To be considered, all grant applications must be received by the Department of Education by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 8. The grants will be awarded at the Board of Education's February 26 meeting.