Three Local County School Districts receive grants for innovative programs

Published 9:42 am Monday, October 9, 2023

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By Sarah Brown – Managing Editor

Five school districts in rural Georgia were among school systems located in counties with populations of 35,000 or fewer that were invited to participate in a series of workshops that would guide them through the process of developing innovative educational programs. Following the workshops, the districts were given an opportunity to apply for the pilot program.

Crisp, Dooly and Sumter County are three of five rural Georgia counties that will receive a $20,000 grant to pilot innovative educational programs, the state Department of Education announced back in the end of September 2023. The grants will come from the nonprofit Georgia Foundation for Public Education (GFPE) that is funded through a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit program. “The Georgia Foundation for Public Education is so proud to support these five districts and the innovative projects they have planned to expand educational opportunities for their students,” GFPE Executive Director Paige Pushkin said.

“These grants will fund creative, meaningful, and much-needed programs for students in rural Georgia. I can’t wait to see all that is accomplished.”

The Crisp County School District plans to use the grant to open an early learning academy at the local elementary school to help younger students to recover from the learning loss that they suffered due to the child-care centers being forced to close during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dooly County School District will use the grant to help boost their academic rewards system to better incentivize students, who many lack motivation. Students that are at the gifted level, with perfect attendance, and that are selected for “student of the month” will be able to take part in monthly field trips to local businesses to gain career exposure.

The Sumter County schools will use the grant to fund a program that is geared towards the faculty and staff members. This is due to a recent survey that conducted that found many signs of decreased job satisfaction and burnout. A mental health and wellbeing space will be designated at each of the districts five schools. These spaces will include calm lightening, comfortable seating, and exercise equipment.