WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes-Barre Area was the lone regional school district — and one of only 20 education agencies statewide — to win a chunk of $15.3 million in a state “school improvement” competitive grant program.
Wilkes-Barre Area will receive $493,120. Superintendent Brian Costello said much of that will go toward expanding “extended day” services at two schools: Kistler Elementary and Meyers High School. Details have yet to be worked out, but he said it will definitely include Saturday programs and after-school programs to akin to efforts that were successfully piloted last year.
Costello cited the RAISE program offered Saturdays for more than 100 students last year each week focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects, and reading. Those programs have helped boost academic achievement among children who participate, he said.
Some of the grant money will be used for “STEM nights and different community events,” Costello added, including efforts “to increase parent and family engagement” in a student’s schooling. Studies have long shown students do better in school when parent are more involved in their education.
Part of the grant money can be used in ways that will help across the district, not just in the target schools, he added, paying for “resources that will complement curricula,” and pay for some teacher training.
The money comes from federal funds. The state awarded $15 million through a competitive grant process to 97 schools in 14 districts and two charter schools. Another $300,000 was awarded to target rural students in two school districts and two charter schools.
Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish