Board OKs plan for grant

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education has approved a plan on how to use its share alliance district funding.

The Naugatuck school district is considered an “alliance district,” one of the 30 lowest performing school districts on standardized tests, by the state. As part of the designation, the district is eligible for increased state funding and will receive a $1.59 million grant from the state in the 2014-15 school year.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini presented the plan of what the funds will go towards during the board’s Aug. 14 meeting.

Montini explained the grant can be used in four categories — core academic programs, talent development and evaluation for teachers and leaders, culture and climate, and school operations.

Before choosing where to spend the money the district took a self assessment provided by the state to locate problem areas, Montini said.

“We answered honestly,” Montini said. “We used that self assessment to drive the alliance plan.”

Montini said the district will use approximately $894,841 for core academic programs.

“Core academic programs are where we are spending the bulk of our money because through that assessment we’ve identified that as a great need,” Montini said.

According to Montini, the money will go towards hiring a director of curriculum, instructional coaches to work with principals to help them guide teachers, an assessment system, a data management system and curriculum materials.

Montini said $259,929 of the grant will go towards improving talent development.
This includes continuing the administrative intern program, professional development for teachers, an executive coach, and continuing to fund TalentEd Perform, which is the data management system for the district’s evaluation.

The district will spend approximately $162,459 on improving culture and climate, Montini said. Most of these funds are earmarked for three new full-time school counselors.

Finally, the district will allocate $276,983 for school operations, Montini said. This includes expanding the summer school program to students who will be entering grades one through nine. Currently the program only serves students entering grades one through three.

A portion of the money will also go towards the extended learning program at Naugatuck High School, Montini said.

“We are really focusing on freshman failure rate and that initiative to increase the graduation rate,” Montini said.

Montini said the grant will help the district continue to improve.

“There are a number of great things going on here at Naugatuck. … But we still know we are going to roll up our sleeves, and we still have a ways to go,” Montini said.

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