School district begins applying grant money to programs
The Lee County School District, which was approved for a $9 million Race to the Top grant in November, officially received the funds and will begin applying the money to various areas in the district over four years.
Dr. Greg Adkins, chief human resources officer provided a presentation during a briefing meeting Tuesday afternoon to share the district’s work plan on how the money will be used. He explained that the grant will help guide officials with their strategic plan, which addresses increasing the graduation rate, reading and mathematics scores, along with closing the achievement gap.
He explained that the funds will be used for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program, an increase in technology to improve instruction and assessment, along with an increase in teacher preparation and an improvement in the principal and teacher evaluation system.
Two of the areas that Adkins addressed in details were the STEM program and the increase in the technology infrastructure.
Adkins said the district currently is ahead of the game with its STEM program, due to various schools implementing the program on their campuses. Among those schools are Mariner High School, Dunbar High School, Island Coast High School and Riverdale High School.
“Kids are out there with their hands,” he said about the biomedical, environmental resources and engineering programs, adding that it engages the student in “real world application.”
He went on to say that the STEM program offers real world experiences that kids really learn from, which is why the program “is so effective.”
The biggest chunk of the $9 million will be used to enhance the technology infrastructure for teachers and principals, by providing teacher dash boards. The technology will provide teachers with readily available access to their students test data, so they can monitor student improvement.
Adkins said he wants to provide the teachers with the opportunity to receive up-to-date, real time information about how well their students are doing in the classroom, so they can adjust their instruction if need be to further the students improvement.
He expressed that he wants to have instantaneous information of where students stand at all times in the principal’s and teacher’s hands.
The teacher, principal dashboard is expected to be implemented by fiscal year 2012.
That is the “place we want to go with this grant,” Adkins said.
He ended his presentation by stating that “we are official now, we just received the money.”