$18.1 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Education
For the state’s new Safe Schools grant program, more than $18 million to nearly 400 Pennsylvania school districts, charter schools, intermediate units, and vocational-technical schools. School districts will be able to use the money to obtain security technology, hire security personnel, develop violence-response plans, provide staff training, purchase instructional materials, institute school identification programs, address risks to reduce incidents of problem behaviors among students, and establish alternative education programs. Gov. Tom Ridge signed the program into law last spring. The program is a $22 million line item in the 1999-2000 state budget.
$13 million from Schools of the 21st Century
For school improvement grants, $13 million to three clusters of schools within the Detroit Public School System. The clusters, made up of 16 schools, each received grants totaling $3 million to $4.5 million during a three-and-a-half year period to implement their school improvement plans. Each cluster has adopted “best practice” whole-school reform models, developed strategies to engage parents and external partners in the school reform process, and integrated its plans into the three goals of the Schools of the 21st Century Initiative: (1) Personalizing the relationship between students and teachers; (2) Enhancing the relationship between school staff and community members, especially parents; and (3) Redefining the relationship between local schools and the district administration. Common themes on the winning grant applications included the provision of state-of-the-art technology, parental and community involvement, extracurricular developmental programs, and implementation of a range of teaching styles to reach diverse learners. Schools of the 21st Century was formed in response to a $20 million grant from the Annenburg Foundation in 1996. With public and private sector matches totaling $40 million, the $60 million five-year initiative is intended to dramatically improve the Detroit Public Schools system.
$4.95 million from the South Carolina Department of Education
For the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, a federal program that gives money to the states to administer, nearly $5 million to 40 school districts in South Carolina. The grants, some as much as $125,000 per district, were based on high poverty levels and greatest need of technology improvements. Districts that applied for the grants had to show how they planned to use improved technology in classroom learning, Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum said. The grants will provide computers for classrooms and connect them to the internet.
$30,000 in wireless phones and service time from AT&T Wireless Services
For its “Wireless for the Community” program in Arizona, 20 digital wireless phones and 600 monthly minutes of complimentary local airtime to 18 nonprofit organizations in the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas for use throughout the year. Tempe Union High School District, for example, received a grant for its Adolescent Pregnancy & Parenting Program.
$7,008 from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
To the Mad River Local School District in Ohio. Two teachers, Debby Root and Marianne Patton, secured the grant money for implementing two computer programs from Advantage Learning Systems (STAR Reading and Accelerated Reader), which attempt to improve reading achievement and incorporate more visual learning into teaching speech and language skills. The programs allow teachers to test students and create easy-to-retrieve databases on each student’s reading level, then measure students’ reading comprehension on assigned books using short computerized tests, so they can assess whether student are reading the books to their capacity. The purpose of The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, located in Cleveland, is to “foster the development of young people to the maximum possible extent through improving the quality of education in secular elementary and secondary schools in Ohio.” The foundation is “eager to explore new frontiers in Ohio public schools and to promote more effective teaching in those schools.”