Grant Will Help Students and Teachers Succeed

By: Pam Cox
Communication Specialist
August 11, 2008

ECHS ClassroomBoth Effingham County and South Effingham High Schools in coalition with Camden County High School have been awarded a 3.9 million dollar federal grant which will be used to improve student achievement, engage and motivate students to maximize their full potential and create smaller, more personalized school environments where all students are welcomed, engaged in learning and motivated to succeed.
The Small Learning Communities grant, which will be awarded over a five year period, is divided among the three high schools as follows: Camden County - $1,499,839; ECHS and SEHS - $1,249,640 each. Each school will use the funds, in addition to local funds, to implement the Small Learning Communities (SLC) strategies which have proven to increase rigor and relevance in all course work and provide students with the academic skills they need to succeed in postsecondary education and careers. Of the total funds required to implement the SLC strategies, 57% will be financed with federal money and 43% will be local funds that are already included in the budget.
A significant portion of Effingham County’s grant money will be used to hire Instructional Coaches and Retention/Transition Specialists for each high school. Each high school will have a part-time Instructional Coach who will support, train, coach and mentor teachers and focus on helping teachers increase and implement rigorous academic curricula. He or she will also offer professional learning opportunities and assist teachers in all aspects of implementing the SLC strategies in their classrooms.
The Retention/Transition Specialist will focus on ninth graders to ensure low drop out rates and provide support for at-risk students. He or she will also work with the Instructional Coach to implement planned SLC structures and strategies.
Effingham County Schools and Camden County Schools formed the coalition called SCORE (Smaller Learning Communities Optimizing Rigor and Excellence) because each of the rural Georgia school systems share similar student demographics and high school graduation rates. Effingham County’s freshman academies at both high schools and the new Career Academy will be instrumental in helping both ECHS and SEHS achieve the goals mentioned above and fulfill the requirements of the grant.