Friday, June 3, 2011

Durham Schools Awarded School Improvement Grants

Durham's Hillside High and Y.E. Smith Elementary have been awarded School Improvement Grants by the North Carolina State Board of Education. They were two of only 17 schools in the state to receive the three-year grants.

Hillside will receive a total of $4,724,648 and Y.E. Smith will receive a total of $2,766,148. The funds will be used to support sustained, systematic academic improvement during school years 2011-2014.

The goal of the School Improvement Grants is not only to raise student achievement, but also to establish models for school improvement that may be replicated. Each school applying for the grant was required to select one of four federally-defined models, and both Durham schools selected the Transformation Intervention Model. This model will enhance student learning and achievement, provide job-embedded professional development for staff, increase learning time, provide an ongoing mechanism for community and family engagement, ensure ongoing technical assistance, and rigorously evaluate and reward all staff.

“We are excited to enhance the academic programs at these two schools,” said Superintendent Eric J. Becoats. “Hillside and Y.E. Smith have devised models to help students and now they will have the funding needed to move forward.”

As part of the Transformation Intervention Model, Hillside High is planning to implement a freshman academy, business and finance academy, International Baccalaureate Programme, engineering and technology pathway, visual and performing arts pathway and advanced curriculum studies.

Y.E. Smith will use the funds to continue the extended school day program which allows for additional instructional minutes per day totaling the equivalent of approximately 42 additional days per year. Y.E. Smith will also add two high-quality pre-Kindergarten classes and significant technology upgrades including digitized classrooms equipped with whiteboards, projectors and laptops for teachers along with increased computer access for students.

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