Governor Deval Patrick today announced over $3 million in new funding to support early career education and intensive English Language instruction for students in Gateway Cities as part of the Administration's Gateway Cities Education Agenda. This funding will further the Patrick Administration's efforts to close persistent achievement gaps and build a 21st century public education system that prepares all students to succeed in the classroom, the workplace and in life.
"Achievement gaps hurt all of us and are completely unnecessary," said Governor Patrick. "These grants will provide targeted resources to enable all our children to succeed."
The Gateway Cities Education Agenda, first proposed by Governor Patrick in November 2011, aims to close the persistent achievement gaps that disproportionately affect children living in poverty, students of color, students who are English language learners and students with disabilities, many of whom are heavily concentrated in the Commonwealth's 26 Gateway Cities.
The awards were announced at the Parthum Middle School in Lawrence, one of the districts that will receive grant funding. The awards are the second round of competitive grant programs, first proposed by Governor Patrick in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 to support early career education and intensive English Language instruction for students in Gateway Cities. Funded through the FY 2014 budget, the funding includes just over $1 million to support new grants to school districts to establish Career Academies and enrichment academies for English language learners, and $2.2 million to school districts that received grants last year so that they can continue to provide targeted support to students.
The first round of Gateway Cities grant awards is already having positive impact on students in our Gateway Cities. As a result of receiving Career Academies planning grants, school districts are working with workforce development partners and employers to provide students with career-focused curricula and real-world learning opportunities. Students in these school districts are learning about career opportunities at the start of high school as opposed the end of their senior year, and educators are working with local and regional employers to provide internships for these students. These students will have the information and experiences that they need to be successful in different types of careers as well as essential contributors to our innovation economy.
In the Gateway Cities that received English Language Learners Enrichment Academies grants, educators are working with colleges and universities, community-based organizations and non-profit organizations to operate intensive and accelerated English language instruction to middle and high school students. In these communities, students are significantly enhancing their English language skills, which will prepare them to succeed in college, career and beyond.
"I am thrilled about the level of engagement in this work as well as the relationships that have been created among K-12 districts, higher education institutions, industry and workforce development partners, and community-based organizations to better serve our students," said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. "We need to meet each student where they are and give them the supports they need to be successful."
"Our City is honored and delighted to be the host of Governor Patrick, his Cabinet, and the Gateway Cities grant announcements," said Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera. "These efforts speak volumes about the importance of education and collaboration between cities to ensure the success of our students. With dropout statistics decreasing and graduation statistics increasing , it gives us that much more to be proud about in the City of Lawrence. I thank the Governor and the Cabinet for helping to make Lawrence better with this funding support, and I look forward to working closely with Gateway Cities."
The FY 2013 budget included $3.5 million to fund grant competitions in the Gateway Cities. In January 2013, the Administration awarded 10 Career Academies planning grants to promote career education and hands-on learning opportunities for high school students, and 12 English Language Learners Enrichment Academies grants to support the establishment of English language enrichment programs for middle and high school students. The FY 2014 budget includes $3.5 million for a second year of these grants. The Governor proposed a $4 million investment for these grants in his FY 2015 budget.
The English language enrichment academies, which include Summer English Language Academies and can also include after-school, Saturday or April vacation programs, provide middle and high school English language learners in awarded communities with high-intensity learning opportunities. All academies will be geared toward middle and high school students classified as English language learners and will accelerate their acquisition of English language and literacy skills in varied learning environments. These enrichment programs will also be operated by strong local networks that include educators plus school and district educators plus representatives from institutions of higher education and community partners.
New grant recipients will receive funding to establish new enrichment programs. Continuation grant recipients will receive funding to continue the operation of programs that were established during the spring or summer of 2013.
Career Academies increase career readiness by providing high school students with greater opportunities for early career exploration, increasing access to motivating educational experiences through applied learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, and by creating multiple and seamless pathways to postsecondary educational and employment opportunities. The Career Academies will be operated and supported by strong local networks that include school and district educators plus representatives from Workforce Investment Boards, institutions of higher education, community partners, and local/regional employers.
New grant recipients will receive funding to engage in planning activities that will result in the operation of a Career Academy in their district by September 2014. Continuation grant recipients will receive funding to expand upon planning activities that were conducted in FY2013, and these recipients will fully operate their Career Academies by September 2014.