ARLINGTON, VA -The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Educational Partnership awarded grants to two Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base area schools through the Promoting Student Achievement at Schools Impacted by Military Force Structure Changes FY 09 Competitive Grant Program. The Bethel School District in Spanaway, Washington received a grant in the amount of approximately $500,000. The Clover Park School District in Lakewood, Washington received a grant in the amount of $2 million. The amount of the grants is based on the number of military-connected students within the school district.
The grants focus on enhancing student learning opportunities, student achievement, and educator professional development at military-connected schools with projected military student growth between 2007 and 2009 due to force structure changes. This data is based on a Report to Congress on Assistance to Local Educational Agencies for Defense Dependents Education published in March 2008. School districts serving 22 military installations identified through that report were invited to submit a grant proposal.
“This is great news for our community partners at the Clover Park and Bethel School Districts and great news for Fort Lewis,” said Col. Thomas H. Brittain, Commander of the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Lewis. “Over the years, Clover Park and Bethel have provided outstanding support to the children of our Soldiers who sacrifice so much on behalf of the nation.”
“We’re all grateful to DODEA for approving this grant and making the critical work of these professional educators – providing the best possible education to our children – a little easier,” Brittain added.
The Bethel School District’s elementary schools will implement the Response To Intervention model of identifying students with deficits in reading, providing tiered instruction from benchmark to intensive based on need, and monitoring progress to ensure effectiveness. Interventions will be stopped when student progress shows effective reading skills at the benchmark level.
The secondary grant school will implement the Making Middle Schools Work model. Students will receive extra time/extra help in reading and/or math if deficits are affecting progress in core courses. Orchard software will be used to assess and target missing knowledge and skills.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to DoDEA for this generous grant that will greatly assist us in our efforts to maximize student learning.” said Tom Seigel, Superintendent of the Bethel School District. “We have always felt supported by the military installations in our area and this grant provides yet another example of just how much the Department of Defense cares about the success of all students and about the surrounding communities.”
Clover Park School District will use its three-year, $2 million grant to:
- expand assessments for the purpose of monitoring student progress and diagnosing skills of new students;
- expand the district’s data system to provide student achievement information to teachers;
- provide extended learning opportunities for students needing additional support;
- enhance college test preparation and;
- continue the Family Friendly Schools model.
The district also began an online learning program for kindergarten through eighth-graders living on Fort Lewis.
“We are very fortunate to have received this grant,” said Keith Rittel, deputy superintendent of Clover Park School District. “We have more than 4,000 military-impacted students in our district. The financial support offered by this grant will strengthen the work and interventions we already have in place and will give us the opportunity to explore new options.”
“This is the first year DoDEA has been able to execute our grant program and it’s very gratifying to be able to offer assistance to the schools that are educating our military’s children.” said Dr. Shirley Miles, Director of DoDEA. “We are looking forward to seeing how the districts implement the programs they’ve developed. We know that all children in the grant recipient districts will benefit from these awards.”
DoDEA’s aim is to enhance the education of military students, but funds may be used to raise student achievement for all students.
In FY 2007, the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act allowed DoDEA to expand its reach to the approximately 92% of military students that do not attend DoDEA Schools. Through collaboration with the Department of Education, DoDEA is working to ease the transition of military students and providing resources to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) who educate military dependent students.
DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools located in the U.S. and its territories and possessions. DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.