LITTLE ROCK — Three priority schools have been selected to receive federal School Improvement Grants worth approximately $3.1 million.
Baseline Elementary School in the Little Rock School District will receive $1,649,518.88, Bellepoint Alternative School in the Fort Smith School District will receive $1,020,954 and Osceola High School in the Osceola School District will receive $453,467.50 for the upcoming school year. These funds are renewable for up to five years pending federal allocations.
“These schools will greatly benefit from the additional funds,” Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. “The funds will allow schools to think outside the box and provide additional resources to help students achieve academic success.”
School districts underwent a competitive application process, where they were required to show how they would implement school improvement models approved by the federal government. These models include making improvements through such things as curriculum reform, professional development, and extended learning time.
Recipients can use the federal funds for before and after school instructional planning, planning for extended school days, and additional support staff and interventions to help reduce suspensions and dropouts. Funds also can be used for technology initiatives, weekend tutoring programs, to hire firms that specialize in improving schools, and to partner with higher education to highlight science and math careers.
Since 2009 when the SIG program was redesigned, Arkansas has received more than $60 million in funds.