WELLINGTON — Wellington Schools announced Tuesday that the district received a series of grants adding $900,000 for school quality improvement.
The grant money will last four years with the $900,000 spread throughout annually. The first $150,000 will be awarded this year, with $300,000 awarded in 2020, another $300,000 in 2021 and $150,000 awarded in 2022.
The grant only can be used for schools improvement expenditures at Wellington High School and McCormick Middle School, according to Wellington Schools Superintendent Ed Weber. Weber said he was proud of the district and everyone involved for receiving the grants.
“It’s a great time to be a Duke, exciting opportunities are ahead for our staff and students. We are grateful for our faculty and staff and board of education for their efforts in helping us achieve our goals,” he said.
The district applied for the grant in November and competed in a small-town category where it had to put in a proposal on how to use the grant money and how those expenses could be used to help improve the school. Luckily, the grant also coincides with the four-year strategic plan Weber introduced this year.
The strategic plan came with three major areas of improvement: academic programming and student results; communication with students, faculty and parents; and financial resources and fiscal stewardship.
Through the strategic plan, Weber said the district’s first steps would be improving literacy at Westwood Elementary School, develop STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and gifted coursework at McCormick Middle School as well as offer advanced placement, college and career courses at Wellington High School, Weber said.
One of the first things Weber hopes to use the grant money on will be to spend it on creating or improving partnerships with programs to improve on STEM courses, as well as educating faculty about how to better use technology to improve their teaching skills.
Some of the new partnerships the district hopes to utilize include National Math and Science Initiative, Making Middle Grades Work and National Project Lead the Way in the areas of science, engineering and medicine. Weber said the district also would like to add partnerships with programs such as Teachers Teaching with Technology, which would help educate teachers on how to use technology better and with Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, which can help in addressing social-emotional learning to help meet the needs of behavioral or emotional issues students may have.
The money also can be used to cover teacher’s overtime if they need to or for new technology equipment for classrooms like smart boards, calculators and computers.
The district also recently announced Westwood Elementary School is the recipient of a one-year School Climate Grant for $4,901 to be used for Positive Behavioral, Interventions and Support initiatives. PBIS is a program geared toward helping students with learning and attention issues.