If its school board approves, Jefferson County School District will receive more than $1.1 million in grants Monday night, with the money funding programs including after-school education, the hiring of a new teacher, teacher training and the remodeling of teacher homes in Warm Springs.
The three grants up for approval are all from the state, including two grants from the Oregon Department of Education.
One is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, given to 24 school districts throughout the state, with Jefferson County being the only Central Oregon recipient. According to Superintendent Ken Parshall, the district will receive $500,000 annually for the next three years and $375,000 annually for two years after that.
The 21st Century grant will fund additional time and support in after-school programs in various subjects, including literacy, math, science and engineering, the arts and physical activity. Kindergartners through eighth-graders in Madras and Metolius will be bussed to Jefferson County Middle School, with separate programs for Warm Springs K-8 Academy, including classes in which students can learn all three languages spoken by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs — Numu, Kiksht and Ichishkiin.
High school after-school programs will be held at Madras High School.
The extra courses will be held Monday through Thursday every week until 6 p.m. for all students. Parshall said if the grant is approved, he hopes to start all programs by Nov. 1, with a few beginning in late October.
“The more time you spend in learning activities, the better you’ll be as a student,” he said. “It could be time and support for someone who’s struggling, or it could be an extension for someone who’s gifted.”
The second state education grant is the three-year District Collaboration Grant, which will allow the district to hire a new teacher. For the grant’s first year, $439,000 will mostly go toward creating the new position, the holder of which will help coordinate teacher training opportunities for the district’s faculty, as well as oversee the funds’ use and the district’s Professional Learning Communities — a weekly morning meeting in which teachers collaborate and coordinate their learning plans.
The Collaboration Grant will also give 25 teachers in the district $750 annually to facilitate those weekly meetings, and help fund transportation, registration fees and lodging for district teachers to attend conferences.
Parshall said the district won’t know how much money the grant will give in its second and third years until it submits a budget at the end of each school year.
The third grant is one of five given out in the state’s Workforce Housing Initiative. According to Parshall, five of eight district-owned teacher homes on the Warm Springs Reservation will be remodeled with new flooring, cupboards and other changes. The grant will also pay for two new modular homes in the small neighborhood, as well as improvements to a nearby playground and small park.
Although the school board won’t vote on it Monday, Jefferson County School District has also been awarded $80,000 from the Oregon Department of Education to address chronic absenteeism, an issue the state has struggled with. Parshall said the district plans on using funds for a Family Advocacy Network advocate to help students struggling with missing school, as well as training for staff through Playworks, a national nonprofit organization that emphasizes healthy recess play for students.
“We want to make sure playgrounds are safe physically and emotionally for children, because often what happens for the youngest children, if they feel picked on or not included, that can make them not want to come to school,” Parshall said.
Before the school board can approve the chronic absenteeism grant, the state must approve the district’s submitted budget.
The school board will also vote on accepting a $10,000 donation of football equipment from athletic company Riddell.
Parshall indicated that he expects the school board to accept the grants Monday night.
“I’ve never had them not approve a grant,” he said.
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