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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Northside awarded second year of Federal improvement grant

  • In its application, Northside applied for more professional assistance in academic instruction by increasing the half-time math specialist to a full-time Math Instructional Coach.
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  •     Late Tuesday afternoon of this week Northside Elementary received notification that it will be receiving federal funds totalling $558,926.72 for the 2013-2014 academic year.
        This amount is $114,000 more than the 2012-2013 School Improvement Grant (SIG), which was the first year of what will likely be a three year grant program.
        In its application, Northside applied for more professional assistance in academic instruction by increasing the half-time math specialist to a full-time Math Instructional Coach.  
        The reading specialist position from the first year SIG was rewritten as a Reading Instructional Coach as well.  These positions will include more direct work with teachers in best practices in these two core content areas.
     
        Also added to the 2013-2014 grant was the full-time position of a Continuous Improvement Specialist (CIS).  
        Of the eight original Priority Schools awarded grants in Minnesota, Northside was the only school to not include the CIS employee in the 2012-2013 grant application.  The St. James School District was notified in March its grant would not be accepted unless it included this position.
        Other items in the new grant cycle will be ‘Parents as Partners’ educational evenings, strategies and standards-alignment work in math and JumpStart Kindergarten for two weeks in August.      Also approved in the grant was activity coverage for Northside students from 8:00-9:00 each Monday during required teacher Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).
        As part of grant requirements, Northside was mandated to increasing learning time for students.  The 2013-2014 elementary school day will begin at 8:20 and release time will be 3:10.
        Northside staff and students will focus on five areas of research-based instructional practices during the 2013-2014 federal grant awarded through the Minnesota Department of Education:  student self-reporting, Response to Intervention, assessing students formatively, family engagement and small group reading strategies in reading and real world problem-solving in math.

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