New State Grants Highlight Innovative Projects

August 21st, 2013

Category: News, Policy and Practice, Postsecondary Success

The Delaware Department of Education recently announced 14 grants, totaling $1.5 million to support schools and districts across the state in implementing innovative practices and projects. The development of this grant opportunity, to be used during the 2013-2014 school year, is an exciting acknowledgement of the significance of exploring, sharing, and expanding innovative programs. This type of sharing and replicating of innovative programs is fundamental as Delaware continues to work toward helping every student reach their full potential, and ultimately graduate college and career ready.

In announcing the grant opportunity, the Department called for projects that would improve: student outcomes, Common Core implementation and assessment, school climates, and achievement of underachieving students. Based on the descriptions of these awards, it is clear that Delaware schools replied enthusiastically with thorough and high-quality applications! Programs were awarded to schools across 10 districts and one charter school, representing all grade levels, and covering a range of subject areas, including, biology, history, and astronomy. Many of the awards focus on Common Core content knowledge, and it is expected that these initiatives will help lead the way as the state continues to work toward implementing the standards this year. Leveraging this type of innovation and creativity in classrooms across the state will continue to facilitate the development of an entire system of world-class schools.

The largest grant ($600,000) was provided to a consortium of districts called BRINC, composed of Brandywine, Indian River, New Castle County Vo-Tech, and Colonial school districts. This grant will support a project called “Linking to the Future,” which will support personalized learning opportunities for students at 10 high schools throughout the state. It will be exciting to follow the BRINC consortium as the districts collaborate around personalized learning in a way previously unseen in Delaware.

In addition to innovation focusing on Common Core, personalized learning, and college and career readiness, the Red Clay Consolidated School District received $32,710 for a Cognitive and Emotional Learning and Esteem Building (CELEB) program. The grant will fund two five-week programs for high-risk students from the City of Wilmington aimed at reducing bullying, improving academic performance, and decreasing suspension rates.

The grants cover a wide variety of need-areas and highlight the innovative programs being used to reach out to Delaware students. As we work toward providing a world-class education for all students, encouraging innovative programs such as these, building on their successes, discussing opportunities for improvement, and committing to sustaining them will be imperative to continuing to build a world-class system of public education.

Jenna Ahner



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