Committee updates board of education on grants

ALPENA — The Alpena Public Schools Board of Education Curriculum and Technology Committee discussed an update on grants that the school district has applied for on Tuesday.

Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment/State and Federal Program Meaghan Gauthier told the committee that the school district has applied for an Early Literacy Grant, a K-3 Reimbursement Grant, and a MiSTEM Advisory Council Grant.

The Early Literacy Grant was awarded to the school district for just under $53,000. The goal of the grant is to improve K-3 reading outcomes and is tied with the third grade reading law.

“The grant proposal outlines professional development for K-3 teachers on the K-3 Literacy Essentials,” Gauthier said. “It also has a focus on comprehension instruction for grades 2-3, and implementing the Kids Read Now summer reading program.”

Gauthier told the committee that she will give the committee updates on the grant as time progresses. The grant gives the school district more money to strengthen the intervention system and improve outcomes.

Next, the K-3 Reimbursement Grant is a non-competitive grant for $33,500. The school district applied to be reimbursed for the NWEA test at second and third grade levels.

“The K-1 literacy assessment from NWEA did qualify for reimbursements, but NWEA has a larger ticket attached to it, so we applied for the second and third grade levels,” Gauthier said.

The other grant that the district applied for was the MiSTEM Advisory Council, which is a competitive grant. The grant would connect businesses and schools while increasing STEM opportunities for kids.

“You can apply up to $100,000 for this grant and we applied for all $100,000,” Gauthier said. “The goal with this grant is to expand Project Lead The Way to all fifth grade students.”

PLTW is currently being offered to all fourth-graders and Gauthier said the district has seen a positive impact on student engagement and teacher support they want fifth-graders to experience.

“The grant would also offer two electives at Thunder Bay Junior High School,” Gauthier said. “The way the proposal is written is that all sixth-graders would get a STEM elective and then there would be electives that seventh- and eighth-graders can choose from.”

If the school district is awarded the grant, Gauthier said the district would have a stronger STEM pathway for students in grades 4-6 and then options for grades 7-12.

“We’re really hoping that our application is strong,” she said. “We will learn whether or not we have been awarded the grant on Dec. 15.”