Bossier schools selected to receive La. Department of Education grant
What's the best way to spend $4 million? On education, of course, said State Superintendent of Education John White to an enthusiastic crowd at Benton Middle School Monday afternoon.
Several Bossier schools were selected by the Louisiana Department of Education to receive $350,000 from Believe and Include, a $4 million competitive grant program that helps students with disabilities in the classroom.
All seven middle schools – Benton, Cope, Elm Grove, Greenacres, Haughton, Louisiana New Tech @ Plain Dealing and Rusheon - will split the six figure check, giving each school $50,000 to use toward Project AIRS.
Sonja Bailes, public relations liaison for Bossier Schools, said Project AIRS, or Assess, Instruct and Remediate Successfully, is a collaborative effort developed by several Bossier educators who spent months writing the grant proposal. She said its goal is to address the needs of the whole student with regular and special education educators planning and co-teaching in classrooms.
The project was selected as a finalist to receive money through the Believe and Include grant initiative. Funded through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the money will allow innovative learning methods and implementing new programs to help students in special education programs achieve proficiency in Common Core State Standards and beyond.
Because of the innovative ways these seven Bossier Schools have adapted to challenges, White said they were selected as the first ever recipients of the Believe and Include award.
“We were so compelled and felt that this was the right thing to do,” White said.
Yolanda Jefferson, principal of Louisiana New Tech @ Plain Dealing, said they are eager to implement the new technology into their school.
“Today is just the first step,” Jefferson said. “Next, we can begin training our faculty and including this technology into our classrooms to help our students grow academically.”
Jefferson said the money is not only a blessing for their school, but all schools in the parish.
White also recognized several additional schools for their achievement levels on the latest school performance score ratings. This year, the Louisiana Department of Education announced that 440 schools were designated a Top Gains school, 12 of which are right here in Bossier Parish.
To be a Top Gains school, school must improve their School Performance Score by or beyond a pre-determined growth target set by the state. In doing so, Top Gains schools earn monetary rewards for educational purposes within their school.
“Many schools made progress, but very few made the level of progress that you did as a Top Gains school,” White said.
Top Gains Schools in Bossier Parish are Airline High, Benton High, Benton Middle, Curtis Elementary, Haughton High, Legacy Elementary, Parkway High, Platt Elementary, Princeton Elementary, Stockwell Elementary, T.L. Rodes Elementary and W.T. Lewis Elementary. Each received a check for approximately $8,500 from the Louisiana Department of Education.