By David Pendered
Two charter schools in Atlanta have received a total of almost $600,000 in state grants to further creative ways to advance student achievement. The two schools are the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School and the Charles R. Drew Charter School.
Gov. Nathan Deal announced 18 award winners Tuesday. The only schools in metro Atlanta to win the competitive grants were the two charter schools in Atlanta, a charter school in Fayette County, and the county school districts in Cobb and Gwinnett.
The awards are funded through the Innovation Fund. The fund is delivered through the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.
“The Innovation Fund Grant is an opportunity to fuel the innovative ideas of Georgia’s education leaders and students throughout the state,” Deal said in a statement. “I am confident this funding will give schools and education groups a greater opportunity to develop methods to ensure that every Georgia student is given the tools necessary for academic achievement.”
Drew Charter School received a grant of $ 9,996 to continue developing its reading program for children up to age 8 years. Last year, Drew received a $700,000 grant to plan its 21st Century Literacy in the Making program, which aims to:
- “[E]liminate summer learning loss, increase teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, support more rigorous and creative project-based learning, and accelerate students’ 21st Century skill development. 21CLM will accomplish these objectives through a Literacy in the Making full-day summer program for targeted rising first through third graders and STEM Makerspace initiatives.”
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Drew now is partnered with Georgia Tech. The planning grant aims to fund the work to develop a strategic plan to scale the 21CLM program from grades one through three, to grades nine through 12. In addition, researchers are to devise methods to scale the program to schools across Georgia.
Tech is participating through its Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing.
Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School received a grant of $589,022.85 to develop methods to scale its teacher retention program across Georgia. The school previously received a grant of $918,000 to develop the program, and also has received federal funding to expand the program to the schools the Atlanta Public Schools’ Maynard-Jackson cluster.
The program’s goal is to mentor and support prospective and early career teachers. ANCS partnered with Georgia State University to recruit and select individuals for the program.
This year’s grant is to fund ongoing efforts to develop teachers and educational leaders in high-need schools. The goal of the CREATE program, (Collaboration and Reflection to Enhance Atlanta Teacher Effectiveness), is to:
- “[R]ecruit, boost the capacity of, and retain effective educators in southeast Atlanta high-need schools through professional development focused on collaboration and reflection. An expansion of Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School’s Race to the Top Innovation Fund project, the New Teacher Residency Program, CREATE is a unique collaborative of both traditional and public charter schools, as well as universities and a school district, that utilizes Critical Friendship, Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, and mentoring. With this grant, ANCS will provide support and mentoring to additional teachers at current CREATE schools as well as expand the program to three new schools – Kindezi, Dunbar Elementary, and Thomasville Heights Elementary.”