Nine Delaware school districts have been awarded millions from the Department of Education to buy instruction materials for 99 schools with more than 60,720 students statewide.
Districts and charter schools apply for the competitive grants, and not all applications were accepted.
“Since 2016 we have seen how our districts and charters have used these grants to build their teams’ capacity and ultimately improve instruction and outcomes for our students,” said Education Secretary Mark Holodick.
The money is awarded through the Reimagining Professional Learning Grant,to help pay for professional learning plans, which include classroom materials.
Brandywine School District received the most money, with $1,052,724.60 heading their way via two grants.
Appoquinimink School District was given the least, with $43,845.10 going to them through a single grant.
Here is a full list of what each district was awarded:
- Brandywine: 2 grants for $1,052,724.60
- Seaford: 3 grants for $596,039.02
- Indian River: 2 grants for $483,215.98
- Caesar Rodney: 3 grants for $476,908.00
- Capital: 1 grant for $431,358.00
- Christina: 1 grant for $349,273.52
- Red Clay: 1 grant for $233,728.85
- Cape Henlopen: 1 grant for $147,468.80
- Appoquinimink: 1 grant for $43,845.10
The Education Department said only a couple of charters applied this year, but none were selected this year.
The grants pay for plans that include materials that can last a full school-year, are aligned to Delaware’s grade-level standards and receive a “green” rating on EdReports.
EdReports is a nonprofit that reviews and rates instructional materials.
The process to apply for a Reimagining Professional Learning Grant starts in February, when a district or charter submits a letter of intent to the Education Department, requesting a certain amount of money and what they want to do with the funds.
The applicants are given three months to create an action plan to show how they will use the money to reach their goals.
An applicant can request money for a specific subject.
Brandywine, for example, received grants for math and English language arts.
“Because our initiatives in math and ELA are so similar, we decided to write those grants together,” said Michelle Hawley, supervisor of mathematics, science, and gifted services at Brandywine. “We wrote a combined middle school grant and then a combined high school grant, so the funding that we received is going to touch every single math and ELA teacher from sixth grade through 12th.”
The cash helps teachers and students as address curriculum shifts in the classroom, said Tracy Selekman, secondary literacy and intervention coordinator at Brandywine.
The two said a major shift for math, for example, is the district moving towards a student-centered classroom that’s rooted in problem-based learning.
In this environment, students are challenged to problem-solve individually or in a group setting, Hawley said, and the teacher is more of a facilitator who helps reinforce certain topics and guide the students in the right direction.
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The money allows Brandywine to put students back at the center of the stage, Selekman said.
The grant program began in 2016 and has awarded $12,935,647.50 in funds to 24 districts and charters during the past seven years.
This year’s group of awardees, Holodick said, represent districts from across the state who have committed to high-quality professional learning and who value the impact it has on educators and students.
“We’re excited to be able to continue to support this important work,” he said.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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