LITTLE ROCK — Two priority schools will receive approximately $6 million in federal School Improvement Grant funds.
Wonder Jr. High School in the West Memphis School District will receive $3,721,470 over three years, and Forrest City Junior High School in the Forrest City School District will receive $2,400,000 over two years.
“The federal funds will allow these schools to implement new programs that will improve the overall education and learning environment for students,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell said. “When students have more hands-on resources and assistance, the end result is improved academic performance.”
The grants, which are awarded to schools through a competitive application process, must be used to implement school improvement models required by the federal government. This includes improving the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extended learning time and other strategies.
Initiatives proposed by the two schools include before and after school instructional planning; additional support staff, such as social workers; interventions to help reduce out-of-school suspensions and dropouts; the hiring of firms that specialize in school improvement; partnering with higher education to highlight careers in science and mathematics; technology initiatives; and Saturday morning tutoring programs.
To date, Arkansas has received approximately $57 million since the SIG program was redesigned in 2009.