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Marlon Davis: Recovery Act funding helps Banneker School help its kids
For the Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School in Cambridge, the $400K American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award it received last year enabled the elementary school to provide comprehensive tutoring services for 40 students through a partnership with the Princeton Review
"The stimulus funds were a breath of fresh air," says Marlon Davis, the school's Executive Director. "Not only did they allow us to partner with a proven service provider but they also allowed us to provide services for many more students than we could have serviced." Davis adds that two of the school's teachers' jobs were also preserved thanks to the funds.
The mission of the 350-student Banneker School is to provide children with the opportunities they need to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering and math fields. Davis estimates that 80 percent of the student body is on free or reduced lunch.
The Princeton Review was interested in partnering with an elementary school as a way to provide options for students previously unable to access their resources and the Banneker School is functioning as a pilot in its program. All indications point to a successful trial.
"The kids are now in their second year of tutoring and Princeton's data shows the program worked," says Davis.
The ARRA funds mean that the students have four hours of tutoring sessions a week. According to Davis, the students in the tutoring program have not only achieved measurable gains on their MCAS scores but they also have greater self esteem.
The improved scores also helped the school move out of a probationary status under the No Child Left Behind Act.
The school already has 25 additional students this year and Davis anticipates that number will go up after the second year of the tutoring program. In addition to the tutoring, Davis says the school will use the ARRA funds in the second year to provide additional special education services, counseling and psychological evaluations.
"ARRA put us on this path," says Davis. "It's a beautiful thing."
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) continues to provide educators with the exciting and unprecedented opportunity to address some of the most pressing challenges in our public education system.
During the second quarter of FY 2010, approximately $92 million in ARRA education funding was spent to:
- Maintain and enhance the fiscal stability of the public higher education system;
- Create and retain jobs for educators and staff members in school districts and public institutions of higher education; and
- Provide targeted instructional support to students.
Most importantly, ARRA education funding was expended to ensure that students have access to high-quality educational opportunities.
Maintain and Enhance the Fiscal Stability of the Public Higher Education System
Administrators at public institutions of higher education expended State Fiscal Stabilization funds to offset budget shortfalls caused by the fiscal situation in the Commonwealth and create/retain jobs at the state and community colleges and the University of Massachusetts campuses.
During the second quarter of FY 2010, a total of $13.6 million was expended at the state and community colleges, and a total of $47.5 million was expended at the University of Massachusetts campuses. These funds were spent to support administrators, faculty members, and staff members, and to address infrastructure needs (in accordance with guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education). Approximately 11,500 educators were supported by the expenditure of these funds. Students' access to high-quality educational opportunities was both maintained and enhanced during this period.
Create and Retain Jobs for Educators in School Districts and Public Institutions of Higher Education
During the second quarter of FY 2010, different types of ARRA education funding - primarily State Fiscal Stabilization, Title I, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), directly supported the jobs of 3,000 FTEs or 6,700 educators and staff members in school districts and public institutions of higher education across the Commonwealth. Teachers, paraprofessionals, staff members, and service providers were supported in school districts as a result of the allocation of $7.2 million and $20.5 million in Title I and IDEA funds, respectively. In addition, as described in the previous section, administrators, faculty members, and staff members were supported in public institutions of higher education as a result of $61 million in State Fiscal Stabilization fund spending.
Provide Targeted Instructional Support to Students
The allocation of Title I and IDEA School-Age and Pre-School funding has provided targeted instructional support to eligible students in schools and districts across Massachusetts.
During the first and second quarters of FY 2010, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded supplementary ARRA Title I grants to 258 districts that included 677 eligible schools. In these schools, 202,166 students are directly eligible to receive Title I services. In addition, supplementary ARRA IDEA grants were awarded to 389 districts that serve approximately 165,000 students who are eligible to receive special education services. Lastly, the Department of Early Education and Care awarded supplementary ARRA IDEA Pre-School grants to 179 districts that serve approximately 9,000 children who are eligible to receive pre-school special education services.
In all cases, the funds will continue to provide differentiated educational opportunities to students, professional development opportunities for educators, and other intervention and support services. To date, $18.7 million in supplementary Title I funds and $42 million in IDEA funds have provided additional support to students and educators.
Selected Competitive Grant Opportunities
Massachusetts submitted a Phase I application for the Race to the Top Fund, an unprecedented $4.35 billion competitive grant program, in January 2010. The U.S. Department of Education will award Phase I grants to selected states that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform, achieving significant improvement in student outcomes (including closing achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates, and increasing college/career readiness), and implementing innovative plans that address four education priorities:
- adopting high-quality and rigorous standards and assessments;
- building robust data systems;
- developing and supporting an effective educator workforce; and
- turning around low-performing schools.
Phase I awards will be announced in April 2010. A second round of applications will be accepted in June 2010.
The U.S. Department of Education will issue final requirements for other competitive grant programs including the Investing in Innovation Fund and the Teacher Incentive Fund during the spring of 2010, and Massachusetts will actively pursue these opportunities to complement our ongoing efforts to advance Governor Patrick's ambitious and comprehensive education agenda.
Created January 29, 2010: Information provided by the Federal Stimulus Team