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Mayor Gray, Chancellor Henderson Announce the Winners of $10 million in Proving What is Possible Grants

Thursday, June 14, 2012
Funds to spur innovation, improve learning in 40 lowest-performing schools

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chancellor Kaya Henderson today announced the winners of $10 million in grant funds intended to spur innovation and dramatically improve student achievement in DC Public Schools.

District-wide, 108 schools submitted 135 applications for the grant program, called Proving What’s Possible (PWP). Of those, 59 will receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $490,000 to launch new initiatives that range from technology enhancements and extended school day programs to data systems for truancy and attendance.

About 85 percent of grant funds will be awarded to DCPS’ 40 lowest-performing schools. Thirteen schools are currently planning to incorporate extended-day programming and 88 percent of the schools are infusing technology into their instruction through this grant.

“These Proving What’s Possible grants will significantly enhance the ability of our 40 lowest-performing schools to meet the school district’s goal of increasing student achievement by 40 percentage points in the next five years,” Mayor Gray said. “Through investments in technology, improved instruction and extended school days, these grants also will go a long way in providing educational equity across the District and ensuring all our children have access to excellent schools.”     

All DCPS schools were eligible to apply for two types of PWP grants. Major Grants ($250,000–$400,000) are designed for schools with the largest population of students in need of academic improvement or a group of students who need to make the largest academic gains. Targeted Grants ($50,000–$100,000) are designed for schools that want to focus on supporting a targeted intervention for a subgroup within a school.

“Our school leaders and teachers continue to come up with innovative ways to engage students and improve the quality of education in our schools,” Chancellor Henderson said. “These grants incentivize innovation and give schools the resources they need to make the greatest impact in student achievement. While we received many outstanding grant proposals, we chose the most compelling, and I am excited to see these plans in action this fall and track progress throughout the year.”

Money for this grant comes from funds previously spent on centrally mandated pilots and programs. With this new fund, schools will have the opportunity to spend the money where they think it will have the greatest impact.

Schools applying for the PWP grants were encouraged to focus applications on how time, talent and technology could help them to make dramatic academic gains, such as extending the school day, utilizing technology in creative ways, and rethinking how their staff would reach as many students as possible. Each proposal also had to include a detailed fiscal application with an overall budget and spending plan.  

In announcing the schools that will receive grant funds, Chancellor Henderson also highlighted the following applications as examples of the most innovative or compelling programs:

Major Grants ($250,000–$400,000)

CW Harris Elementary School (Ward 7), $340,000: Grant money will be used to implement a “Building a Great Neighborhood School” for an extended-learning day program. The program will target all students with the intent of addressing academic and social-emotional needs. All students in preschool through Grade 5 will attend school 8:15 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Friday with the support from City Year Corps members. 

The extended-learning day will provide traditional, direct instruction for students, but also investigative learning through technology, The Fishing School’s STEAM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) and project-based learning time. In total, all students will receive approximately 280 hours of additional instruction during the 2012-2013 school year. 

Teachers will receive an additional 46 hours of professional development outside of the school day on Friday’s when students are dismissed at 3:15, teachers remain until 5:15 to participate in professional development opportunities. All teachers will have professional development sessions with their Instructional Coach, an independent consultant, the Flamboyan family engagement foundation, New Leaders and DCPS central office-based staff.

Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7), $490,000: Grant funds will be used to provide academic acceleration and remediation during a yearlong extended day program.  Afterschool programming will be available for all students each day. This programming will provide additional learning opportunities; a safe space for students after school; a structured environment for homework; targeted interventions; and a wide variety of clubs and organizations. In addition to the afterschool program, Kelly Miller will implement summer camps for rising 6th-8th grade students, along with summer enrichment seminars for students in the gifted-and-talented program. All programs will be supported by an infusion technology and online programming, specifically Apangea and First in Math.

Dunbar High School (Ward 5), $300,000: Dunbar High School will implement an extended-day and an afterschool program. Extended day will be for students in grades 9 and 10, 45 minutes before school and 45 minutes after school, specifically for project-based learning. Afterschool will be for all students and will include tutorial service targeting struggling students for academic interventions as well as an array of clubs and activities. Dunbar will also utilize Blackboard as a learning management system and online college readiness programming.

Targeted Grants ($50,000–$100,000)

West Education Campus (Ward 4): Grant funds will be used to incorporate the School-wide Enrichment Model to ensure students at all levels are challenged academically.  This will include a gifted and talented resource teacher, and professional development at the University of Connecticut both during the summer and throughout the school year. The school will also purchase technology to implement this model effectively. 

Banneker High School (Ward 1): The Banneker Extended Scholars Team (BEST) program will offer a meaningful afterschool program that will support targeted students to excel academically. The educational and literacy component of the program will provide tutoring and/or homework assistance designed to assist those students in their core academic subjects.  The enrichment element of the program is designed to enhance the core curriculum and provide students with additional services, programs and activities that reinforce and compliment Benjamin Banneker’s academic program.

For more information review the Proving What's Possible Grant Fact Sheet »