Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sallisaw Middle School Gets $40,000 Grant

Sallisaw Middle School has been awarded a $40,000 grant to help students prepare for college. The Oklahoma State Department of Education announced the grant awards Monday, and awarded $837,000 in grants to selected Oklahoma schools for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). The program allows schools to teach college-readiness courses, helping close the achievement gap by preparing all students for the demands of college and the workplace.

Sallisaw Middle School Principal Greg Cast said, "Any time we get some extra money for our kids, that's great." Cast said Diane Tillery, middle school curriculum specialist, applied for the grant. Tillery said the AVID grant will fund an elective class that will help students with organizational and other skills as they consider a future college education.  The class will also bring in college tutors, most of whom will be recent high school graduates, to encourage the students, as well as successful, college-educated, community members to discuss the future with students. Students will also be taken on trips to colleges and universities to prepare for the future. This first grant will be for an eighth grade class. Tillery said she plans to write another grant for next year, hopefully for the same class for high school freshmen.

"Workplace demands are now for higher skills and education," Tillery said about the importance of the AVID program. "We are excited about this program."

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said the program has a tremendous success rate. "I congratulate the Oklahoma schools that have worked hard to offer AVID to their students, particularly traditionally underrepresented school children who are middle performing or are likely the first generation in their families to attend college," Hofmeister said. 

The grant funds were approved by the State Board of Education in late February.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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