A million dollars in federal stimulus funds has been awarded to the William S. Hart Union High School District to help improve educational technology and college-career readiness.
The award, announced this week, is from the Enhancing Education Through Technology competitive grant program and is limited to uses that “improve high school graduation rates and promote student readiness for college and careers,” according to the California Department of Education.
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Terry Deloria, Director of Special Programs and writer of the Hart District grant application, said that about one-third of the $1 million budget will support ninth through 11th grade English teachers through professional development and / or coaching, with the remaining funds being used to replace some older computers throughout the sites that have not recently been modernized.
The grant will also fund the purchase of My Access software, a writing program that provides immediate feedback to students, so they may build and improve their writing skills. Through My Access, parents will also have access to feedback on their student’s writing assignments and this assessment information can be translated into several languages for the parent to better understand the results.
“This award will support the implementation of a large scale project in the District to increase writing proficiency among all high school students, increase the percentage of juniors who are ‘college-ready’ based on the STAR Early Assessment Program, and increase the CAHSEE passing rate for students with disabilities and English Learners on their first attempt,” Deloria said. “These funds will help us achieve our goals.”
A total of $36 million was awarded to 151 educational agencies in California, with grant sizes varying between $10,000 to $3 million, and was based on the number of seventh through twelfth grade students enrolled at each eligible school district. The Hart District, with nearly 23,000 students in grades seven through 12, received one of the larger awards based on the enrollment.
“I am excited that the Hart District has been awarded this grant, which will help us promote two of our top priorities: closing the achievement gap and better preparing our students for college or the world of work,” Superintendent Rob Challinor said. “By targeting ninth through 11th graders for this program, we expect to raise our already high graduation rate, 95%, even higher.”