Fed­eral funds meant to give boost to lo­cal at-risk stu­dents

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL& REGION - By Andy Stiny astiny@sfnewmex­i­can.com

Two schools in Santa Fe and two in Taos will re­ceive fund­ing for at-risk stu­dents from an ad­di­tional $7.7 mil­lion from the fed­er­ally funded Di­rect Stu­dent Ser­vices ini­tia­tive, New Mex­ico Pub­lic Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary-des­ig­nate Christo­pher Ruszkowski an­nounced Fri­day.

Santa Fe Pub­lic Schools re­ceived $215,319 for Salazar El­e­men­tary and El Camino Real Academy com­mu­nity school and Taos Mu­nic­i­pal Schools was awarded $562,147 for Ran­chos El­e­men­tary and Taos High.

“That’s good news, we could all use more money for school im­prove­ment,” said Santa Fe Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Veron­ica Gar­cía.

At Salazar, the funds will be used to pro­vide ex­tended learn­ing time and per­son­al­ized in­struc­tion with two hours of tu­tor­ing three times a week for stu­dents who need help in English pro­fi­ciency, said ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment as­sis­tant sec­re­tary Jane Hen­z­er­ling. At El Camino, the money will go to­ward help­ing stu­dents need­ing ad­di­tional in­struc­tion in read­ing and math pro­fi­ciency.

The schools in Taos were noted for “an in­no­va­tive pro­gram that pro­vides data-driven, per­son­al­ized path­ways for stu­dents to ac­cel­er­ate learn­ing in math­e­mat­ics,” known as the Teach to One cur­ric­u­lar ap­proach.

Through that fund­ing, stu­dents “will re­ceive tar­geted in­struc­tion to im­prove math and lit­er­acy out­comes, high-qual­ity tu­tor­ing with high-per­form­ing teach­ers, and, in some cases, trans­porta­tion for stu­dents in ru­ral ar­eas to ac­cess ex­tended­day learn­ing,” Ruszkowski said in a state­ment.

The state is the first na­tion­wide to fully im­ple­ment the Di­rect Stu­dent Ser­vices ini­tia­tive as part of its Ev­ery Stu­dent Suc­ceeds Act plan.

The ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment eval­u­ated ap­pli­ca­tions, which schools statewide were en­cour­aged to sub­mit, and awarded $3.3 mil­lion in Di­rect Stu­dent Ser­vices fund­ing to 36 schools in 18 dis­tricts for the 2018-19 school year.

The re­main­ing $4.4 mil­lion will be awarded for the 20192020 school year and will sup­port ex­ist­ing Di­rect Stu­dent Ser­vices pro­grams and “pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity for new ap­pli­cants to launch their own tar­geted pro­grams,” ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

Fed­eral law re­quires fund­ing be pri­or­i­tized based on schools with higher num­bers of low­er­per­form­ing stu­dents, ac­cord­ing to the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment.

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