#036;50K to help Booker T leave no child behind

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 22, 2002

Suffolk’s Booker T. Washington Elementary school was one of 85 schools in Virginia awarded $4.4 million in federal Comprehensive School Reform grants.

The money was allocated to the commonwealth’s lowest performing schools, particularly those serving a large concentration of students impacted by poverty. Suffolk School Board members were informed during Thursday night’s meeting that Booker T. Washington Elementary received $50,000 for its &uot;No Child Left Behind&uot; program, which concentrates on strengthening students’ literacy skills.

CSR grants provide financial incentives to schools to implement school-wide reforms based on concrete research and proven instructional practices, according to a report by the Virginia Department of Education (DOE). The CSR grant program’s intent is to focus on core subjects including mathematics, English, science, and history and social science, which comply with Virginia’s Standards of Learning objectives.

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The grants emphasize coordinated efforts by schools to increase student achievement in all aspects of instruction. To that end, programs receiving CSR funds must integrate significant aspects of current research on effective school improvement methods.

Forty-nine schools were awarded first-time grants of $54,081; 36 schools received second-year grants of $50,000, like Booker T. Washington. All of the grant recipients are schools either on the commonwealth’s academic warning list, or provisionally accredited, but in need of improvement. According to a presentation Thursday night by Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lynne Cross, none of Suffolk’s schools are operating under a warning cloud.

Suffolk Schools have made great academic strides in keeping with one of the board’s goals for the 2001-2002 school year to boost accreditation, said Cross. Cross reported that the system has advanced from just one fully accredited school to six meeting state standards.

In pushing forward to meet its goal of 100% compliance, Northern Shores Elementary has been joined by Driver, Florence Bowser, and Kilby Shores Elementary; and Forest Glen and John Yeates Middle School.

&uot;We’ve made significant gains,&uot; Cross told the board.

Nineteen of the schools that received the CSR grants, including nine that were awarded second-year grants, are among Title I schools in Virginia subject to federal school-improvements sanctions under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

These schools and other warned schools receiving CSR grants will receive intervention and assistance from Governor Mark Warner’s Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS), recently announced by the governor.

Schools may receive comprehensive school reform grants for up to three years. The continuation of CSR funding is contingent on the school’s successful implementation of an instructional model, and progress raising student achievement in reading and mathematics. Additionally, CSR grant recipients must meet annual achievement goals in reading and mathematics established by the DOE later this year in compliance with NCLB.