Schenectady County

Mohonasen gets $374K grant to improve teaching

The Mohonasen Central School District was among 17 school districts statewide that were awarded a st

The Mohonasen Central School District was among 17 school districts statewide that were awarded a state grant to improve teaching, the New York State Education Department announced.

The district will receive $374,000 as part of the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness program. The Education Department anticipates awarding $58.6 million during the next two years.

To qualify for the grant, districts had to have at least 25 percent of students from low-income families and have developed a “comprehensive approach to recruitment, development, support, retention and equitable distribution of effective teachers and school leaders.” Districts also were required to have an approved teacher and principal evaluation plan.

Mohonasen officials say the grant will be used to help strengthen literacy, math, science and technology instruction in grades three through eight to increase scores on the state tests, especially among special education and economically disadvantaged students.

“We are focused on making sure we help all students build a strong foundation in the areas of literacy, math and science because these are lifelong skills,” Mohonasen Superintendent Kathleen Spring said in a news release. “By offering teachers and school leaders more support and strengthening their skills, we will be working to improve student achievement.”

During the next two years, the district will hire consultants to provide training and support to math, science and special education teachers; offer stipends to teachers and school leaders who return to school to gain either additional teaching certification or course experience in areas that will strengthen their expertise; and create coaching, mentoring and support positions to assist teachers in grades three through eight.

This is the second grant the district has received in the last couple months. In August, it was awarded a $1,8 million, three-year grant to boost vocational programs.

Area districts eligible

Another 32 school districts are eligible for funding if they submit and receive approval for their teacher and principal evaluation plans. The deadline to have an approved plan is Jan. 17.

This group includes Duanesburg Central School District, which is in line for $109,125. Superintendent Christine Crowley said the money would be used to implement a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program to improve behavior at schools and hire a math coach.

Crowley was optimistic about the outcome of the district’s negotiations with its teachers.

“We’re hoping to get the whole package done and get it approved quickly because we’re really running out of time,” she said.

Other eligible districts locally are Mayfield and Middleburgh.

State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said these grants are part of an effort to improve educator effectiveness, particularly among teachers of high-needs students, English language learners and those with disabilities and in the science, engineering, math and technology disciplines.

“Research shows the best way for schools to help students succeed is to have an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective principal in every school building,” King said in a press release.

“But all too often, our highest need students miss out on great teachers and school leaders. [These] grants will help school districts recruit, develop, support, and retain effective teachers and leaders at every level,” he said.

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