St. Vrain Valley school district was recently awarded a $16.6 million grant from the Race to the Top (RTTT) Federal Grant program. St. Vrain is one of only 16 school districts throughout the nation to earn this recognition and award. The district reports that RTTT funds will be used to advance instructional programs, increase learning time and opportunities for our students, enhance technology throughout our schools, and provide additional instructional materials and supplies. But what does that mean for your school?
Specifically, the Skyline HS STEM program served as the model for the RTTT grant, which was awarded to provide funds for the expansion of the STEM program to the middle and elementary schools within the Skyline feeder system plus two additional Title 1 schools. Schools that will see resources from the grant include Skyline HS, Trail Ridge MS, Timberline K-8, Fall River Elementary, Alpine Elementary, Rocky Mountain Elementary, Columbine Elementary, Indian Peaks Elementary and Northridge Elementary. For schools that are not grant recipients, there is a positive ripple effect as grant provisions allow previously budgeted funds covered by the grant (e.g., Galileo testing, technology refresh) to be re-directed throughout the district.
The four year grant started in January 2013 and will run through January 2017. The planned goals for the RTTT grant include:
- Open an Innovation Center at Skyline HS to promote and develop, in cooperation with business, real world application of STEM skills.
- Hire STEM coordinator at each site to implement STEM focus, provide professional development for technology integration.
- Hire counselors at 3 secondary schools to implement Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAP) for students.
- Hire 28 teachers to implement REAL (Relationships with Educators Accelerate Learning) which provides at-risk student mentoring for at least 4 hours per week.
- Augment school year for at-risk elementary students with 7 summer weeks of literacy, STEM and English language development focus.
- Add $83K/year in technology for middle schools; $41K/year for elementary schools; $23K/year for Skyline HS.
- Support myON reader in 7 elementary schools.
While the RTTT grant is a success for SVVSD, the grant award would not have been possible without passage of the 2008 Mill Levy override and Bond. Without the local funding provided by these measures, the Skyline HS STEM program, on which the grant is based, would not have been possible. The additional resources the RTTT grant will provide directly and indirectly to all of our schools, is the clear result of community support for education.