BESE awards more than $1.7 million grant programs

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) recently approved six education project proposals for funding in the next school year under the state's Competitive Grant Program.

The purpose of the grant program is to encourage the development of innovative programs that support and increase student achievement in Louisiana. BESE allocated more than $1.7 million for the projects.

"The Competitive Grant Program presents an additional opportunity to support innovation in Louisiana's schools," said BESE member Holly Boffy. "Educators and agencies across the state have many creative ideas to further student learning. It is exciting to provide the means to put their ideas into practice."

All of the proposals approved by BESE fund projects in schools, either as direct or flow-through funding. The approved programs benefit over 1,700 students ranging from pre-K through high school and include the following:

• The Lafourche Parish School Board was awarded $357,260 to expand career course offerings to include an Industry Based Certification program in electricity. The program gives students the opportunity to develop technical skills through a valuable trade certification program aligned with local industry demands.

• The Rapides Parish School Board will receive $156,728 for a K-2 reading intervention program aimed at increasing proficiency levels of students in low-performing schools. The program includes training for teachers and a technology-based platform that enhances students' alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, sight word recognition and other foundational reading skills.

• St. Charles Parish Public Schools will receive a total of $131,262 for two initiatives. One is a middle school math intervention program, utilizing differentiated instruction and technology-based learning tools to help at-risk middle school students establish foundational math skills and increase performance. The program will provide students increased technology-assisted math instruction during and after school. The second program is a pre-K summer camp, which provides a three-week literacy intervention for at-risk preschool students to develop a strong foundation for reading success prior to entry into kindergarten. The grant provides for the summer camp's educators, classroom materials and student transportation.

• The West Baton Rouge School Board was awarded $212,751 to implement a one-to-one middle school laptop program focused on integrating technology into classrooms and increasing student success in English and math. The program integrates technology, instruction, assessments and professional development to achieve results.

• The Louisiana Department of Education was awarded $845,000 to provide start-up and continued funding for regional teams participating in the state's new Jump Start career education program. These regional partnerships combine the efforts of local school districts, industry and higher education to develop course offerings for students leading to credentials and skills development relevant to high-demand, high-wage jobs. The allocation will provide funding for up to eight new and 12 existing Jump Start regions in the state.

"We were very pleased with the volume and diversity of proposals received from across the state," said BESE member Carolyn Hill. "The programs approved for funding by BESE today will have a real, positive impact on students, and we look forward to observing their progress."

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