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Federal Way schools receive grant for new standards

The Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced on April 2 that 50 districts across the state received $4,500 grants to help ease the transition to the common core state standards, which will be effective for the 2014-15 school year.

According to OSPI, the grants "are part of an agreement between OSPI and the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board," and the money will be used for "travel and other costs related to participation in standards workshops during spring and summer 2012." Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) was one of the districts chosen for these grants, a fact that Marie Verhaar, director of Standards Based Education Curriculum and Instruction for FWPS, shared during the district's March 27 board meeting.

"The districts who receive these grants must be representative of the state's demographics, and must have 50 percent free and reduced lunch. Four districts were selected in each region," Verhaar said. "The funding of this grant covers teacher and staff participation in the workshops OSPI is putting on in the spring and summer. They'll have presentations and workshops going through until August. It will also provide some funds for teacher stipends and some training that we will continue throughout the summer."

OSPI notes that the state has a four point plan to roll out the common core state standards. 2010-11 was aimed at exploring the state standards, while 2011-13 is meant to build awareness and begin building statewide capacity. 2013-15 is aimed at continuing the building of statewide capacity and classroom transitions, and 2013-15 will be spent applying the new standards and assessing them.

More than 75 districts applied for the grants, OSPI notes. The funds come from a federal program called Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR-UP!). To read more about the district's efforts to be ready for these new standards, click here.

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