The state Department of Education has published a list of school improvement grants that are being made across Louisiana. Red River Parish is the recipient of several of those grants. We asked Karen Squires to sort out the funds coming to Red River. Here is her analysis:
Red River Parish Schools have been awarded Competitive grants totaling $54,727.00 for the 2019-2020 School year. The awarding of these grants reflects the dedication to improvement that this district has adopted in the past 4 years.
The comprehensive Intervention Required grant funding is a total of $170,677.00. These funds, formerly known as School Redesign funds, are competitively awarded to schools that have a school grade below a “C”. We applied for these funds for the Elementary and Jr. High schools. These funds are for implementing new Tier 1 Curriculum in ELA and Math and for teacher professional development. A new K-2 Reading program was implemented in the 2018-2019 school year and teachers went through a week-long training with supported follow-up from the publishers. We also implemented ZEARN math and supported teachers through the use of Louisiana ELA Guidebook professional development.
In the 2019-2020 school year, we will use the grant funding to provide additional support to K-2 teachers through a new digital platform for the Reading Program, provide additional math training for Elementary and Jr. High teachers, and we will provide comprehensive training to Special Education teachers in the implementation of ELA and Math supports for struggling students. We will also have 4 teachers trained in Math Content Leader (specialized math training) during the 2019-2020 year. Our focus is on giving all teachers the tools necessary to provide meaningful and challenging lessons for all students on a daily basis. Through these lessons students will work to achieve mastery of the standards for Louisiana.
Red River was also awarded $150,642.00 for SRCL funding for grades 6-8. This money will be largely used to advance the professional development for all ELA teachers. Teachers will be enrolled in the state recognized ELA Content Leader training. This training will be part of the district’s professional development calendar and will provide not only extensive training in the teaching of Reading, writing, and diverse learner needs but it will also provide an avenue for leadership advancement for teachers who wish to become district leaders. A second area of focus is to continue to provide the digital platform for ELA Guidebook and print materials for Jr. High students.
The third grant awarded is for $121,150.00 that provides monies for Teacher Incentives and talent pipeline lead. These funds offer teachers the opportunities to become mentor teachers and stipends for extraordinary results on state test mastery levels.
A final reward is for $12,258.00 which will allow the district to focus training on Special Education teachers. These funds will provide much-needed professional development for teachers in this highly specialized area. ELA and Math training will be conducted for teachers throughout the year.
Red River Parish School Board is excited by the opportunities that are afforded through the funds awarded to the district. We know that through comprehensive curriculum change and professional development for teachers, the results will be significant for all students in this school system. Our goal is always to provide excellent education: every child, every day, whatever it takes.