The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

July 16, 2013

Palestine ISD awarded $8.5 million grant for new program

PALESTINE — Palestine Independent School District has received news that the district has been awarded the highly sought-after 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant — which includes $8.5 million over a five-year period — that will provide additional learning opportunities for PISD students before and after school.

“There were only 19 winners in the state of Texas who received the grant, so we feel pretty fortunate,” PISD Superintendent Jason Marshall told the Herald-Press Thursday. “Across the state, there were $60 million in grants given out and we got $8.5 million, so we got a substantial portion.”

The long-standing grant program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children.

The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; and offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs.

The learning centers will be set up at Palestine ISD on the following campuses: Northside Primary School, Southside Elementary School, Story Intermediate School, Palestine Junior High School and Palestine High School. Washington Early Childhood Center was not included in the grant.

“This will provide before- and after-school learning centers with first-class master teachers. It allows us the opportunity to extend the educational day to meet the needs of every student,” Marshall said.

Marshall commended Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Carolyn Martin and the school district’s grant writing team for their effort.

“They did a tremendous job in helping us get this grant,” Marshall said. “There were many districts larger than Palestine vying for this grant.”

The 21st Century grant will kick off in October and provide funding for four days of learning center activities throughout the next five years, including summers. The grant also includes transportation to and from the program and a snack for the student.

“We hope our kids and parents will embrace the opportunity,” Marshall said.

The grant also will help build on other grants the district has received, such as the TT1PS (Texas Title 1 Priority Schools) grant, which is providing hand-held devices for students at the high school and middle school.

“TT1PS will play out in the 2013-14 school year, so for us to receive a district-wide grant such as the 21st Century grant, it shows our district is willing to look at outside sources to provide funding for learning opportunities for our kids to supplement our budget,” Marshall said. “It’s also another plug for our district, which has a solid background financially, to build on our strong grant record.”

The grant also can be used to build on the educational opportunities the other grants have started with the implementation of the handheld devices for students for the district’s 1:1 and 24/7 technology initiatives.

Text Only
Local News