News

School district receives $471,000 Race to the Top grant

From staff reports:

Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) recently announced that it will receive a grant of $471,000 as part of its membership in the Road Map Project, a regional consortium of districts aimed at improving student and teacher success.

This initial grant money comes from the project's participation in the federal Race to the Top program.  According to FWPS, the funds will go toward "graduation, math achievement and kindergarten/first grade literacy."

"We are delighted that these funds will support this important work for our students most in need," FWPS Superintendent Rob Neu said in a news release. "At the same time, we are lifting up the quality of instruction for all students."

Federal Way's grant is part of the consortium's Project 1, which is slated to be a "fund that districts may access to build teacher and principal content knowledge, to assist in the creation of personalized learning environments in the region's high-need schools," the district reports. The Project 1 fund is focused on scalable, high impact improvements in math, science and English language learner instruction as well as teacher/principal leadership.

John Welch, superintendent of the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) and a member of the RMP Executive Committee, said this first round of awards to FWPS and other participating districts is "a significant investment of time, energy and research to implement strategies that will increase student achievement in our region."

"The use of best practices, innovative partnerships with local and national professional organizations is inspiring and exciting," Welch added.

FWPS' specific project is titled "School Change Teams," and is focused on closing the achievement gap "for students of color, males of color and English language learner students in reading, math and graduation rates."

According to FWPS, the district will work with a consultant, The Learner First, to build the change teams at the district and school level. Those teams will "focus on the achievement of the district's most struggling learners. Schools and district staff will analyze student achievement evidence to identify groups of learners needing acceleration, and work to ensure their success."

FWPS looks to target 660 students and 239 teachers across six schools, with the aim of hitting a number of achievement targets. According to the district, these goals are:

• 100 percent of ninth-grade African American, Hispanic and Native American students will be on target to graduate by spring 2014

• 100 percent of African American, Pacific Islander and Latino Boys in grades 3,5,8 and 10, will see math as relevant and meaningful for their lives, and will be achieving at or above standard in math by spring of 2014

• 80 percent of English Language Learner students will read at grade level by the end of kindergarten, 90 percent by the end of first grade, and 100 percent by the end of second grade.

 

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