Thursday, April 25, 2002

Struggling schools get $3.3-million boost

The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE. — A dozen Jefferson County public schools struggling with low test scores and high poverty rates have received $3.3 million to raise student achievement.

        The state school-reform grants will funnel between $85,000 and $96,000 annually over three years to each school for research-proven programs that bolster basics such as literacy — where educators say a weakness can scuttle overall student performance.

        “Reading and writing are a big problem,” said Linda Siemon, the district's Title I coordinator who is overseeing the grants. “Without those skills, a child will not do well on other parts of tests, such as science, where they need to get across what they know.”

        The local schools are among 20 statewide to receive such grant money under the program, administered by the Kentucky Department of Education but funded primarily by the federal government.

        First given three years ago, such grants have benefited 60 Kentucky schools, including three others in Jefferson County that won them last year.

        Schools, which must be low-performing and have high indicators of poverty among students, can use the money to train teachers, purchase computers or pay for special positions such as reading coordinators.

        State Department of Education spokeswoman Lisa Gross said most of the schools are using the grant money to improve student reading and writing. Pressure to do so has increased since state tests began including open-ended questions and writing portfolios, she said.


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- Struggling schools get $3.3-million boost
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