Many schools have unique ideas to improve educational offerings for its students, but funding can be hard to come by.
Through an Ohio program called the Straight A Fund Grant, schools can apply for funding to make these ideas possible. The deadline for 2016 submissions has passed and 140 institutions have applied. Two of these institutions are from Scioto County, including the Scioto County Career and Technical Center and the Washington-Nile Local School District.
The Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC) has applied for $726,234 to fund a program they are calling “The Southern Ohio Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (SO-AMI).” According to information handed over by the Ohio Department of Education, the institution is seeking money to expand their advanced manufacturing pathway career-technical learning experiences for 7-12th graders. This grant would allegedly impact 7,500 students in grades 7-12 over five years.
“We want to do more than give students the ability to say they know how to run and operate a certain piece of equipment,” Josh Shoemaker, of the SCCTC, said. “We want to give them better training with something they can receive a certificate that speaks for them, and shows that they do, in fact, know how to operate the machinery they are talking about.”
Washington-Nile School District has applied for $359,635 to fund a program they are calling “Freedom of Year Round Literacy: More Choice, More Books, More Growth.” According to information handed over by the Ohio Department of Education, the institution is seeking money for building proficiency for at risk readers through personalized reading instruction and individualized digital libraries. This grant would allegedly impact 5,778 students.
“The grant would help us meet our goals in regards to technology. Next year, our elementary students will receive devices, which will complete our one-to-one initiative,” Superintendent Jeff Stricklett said. “Our kindergarten through second grade students will receive an iPad and our third and fourth grade students will receive Chromebooks.The grant would also allow our district to offer technology opportunities to our students and parents after school (through the digital library service). This will be housed in our elementary school.”
According to the Ohio Department of Education, a total of 323 unique organizations, including 232 public school districts, have requested more than $102 million in the third round of the Straight A Fund grant award process. The applicant pool includes 38 percent of Ohio school districts.
Over the course of fiscal years 2016 and 2017, over $30 million will be given to Ohio educational institutions. $15 million will be dispersed each year. The money will be used to promote innovative local ideas and programs to help transform and modernize Ohio’s education system.
“Ohio educators have again showed how creative and innovative they can be when given the opportunity,” State Superintendent Dr. Richard A. Ross said in a released statement. “Straight A fund recipients find unique ways to have a positive impact on the students they serve, and I applaud all of our applicants for taking initiative in shaping and improving education in our state.”
A screening process is currently underway, which includes the participation of the nine-member Governing Board looking over each applicant to determine an outcome. The Ohio Department of Education will reward grants based on impact and probability of success.
According to the organization, “Reactive and cost-effective solutions will get the seed funding they need to get off the ground. Ohio is looking for proposals that solve specific problems in our schools, can be quickly replicated by others and are sustainable.”