Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is proud to partner with the Community Foundation of Broward (CFB) to change the way middle grade students learn and engage in school. The District is the recipient of the largest grant the Foundation has awarded to date to strengthen the School Is Cool grant, which includes the Reimagining Middle Grades Initiative. Beginning in the 2018/19 school year, the Foundation will provide the District with $3 million – $1 million over each of the next three years – and the District will match the amount, bringing the total contribution to this initiative to $6 million. A School Board presentation announcing the grant takes place on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.
Initially launched in 2013, the School Is Cool program was created to help students in grades six through eight who are considered at risk and disengaged with school by changing the way curriculum is delivered; placing a heavy emphasis on the importance of social and emotional learning; and offering increased support to address the core factors that cause students to perform poorly in school.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to increase the District’s graduation rate to 90% by focusing on helping struggling students succeed during the critical middle grade years, which often determine the overall trajectory of their high school careers.
With funding from the Foundation and the District’s matching funds, BCPS will hire additional community liaisons and ESE support facilitators to engage students in project-based learning designed to improve attendance, reduce risk-taking behaviors and increase academic achievement. Teachers will also receive professional development in the areas of project-based and, social and emotional learning.
By creating connections for students in a variety of ways, including mentoring, enhanced academic support and extra-curricular opportunities, School Is Cool will help decrease the chance of students becoming detached and dropping out.
“We need to deepen our commitment to the most alienated kids so that they don’t disengage. We can affect them in ways that will benefit the life they will lead beyond school,” said BCPS Superintendent Robert W. Runcie. “It takes a village to help today’s youth and our partnership with the Foundation allows us to pilot a program for systemwide effectiveness.”
The Foundation grant also strengthens the District’s layered approach by supporting Applied Learning Institute (ALI)gn Summer Camps to provide students with electives in robotics, computer science, music, art, debate and yoga in an effort to pique interest in fields, which they may not otherwise have access.
The revised initiative aligns with the District’s ongoing strategic focus on middle grades learning by identifying students who are at-risk based on attendance, behavior and course grades.
The pilot middle schools include: Apollo Middle School, Attucks Middle School, Crystal Lakes Middle School, Lauderdale Lakes Middle School, New Renaissance Middle School, New River Middle School, Nova Middle School, Parkway Middle School, Silver Lakes Middle School and Sunrise Middle School. If successful at the end of the three-year grant period, School is Cool: Reimagining Middle Grades will be implemented at all BCPS middle schools.
“This bold grant was awarded after many months of research by the Foundation and the District. It was made possible because of the forward-thinking individuals who established endowed Funds at the Foundation with instructions to solve our community’s most important issues, especially those that impact Broward’s children. This work will have far reaching impact, and local philanthropists made it happen,” said Steven W. Hudson, chairman, Community Foundation of Broward Board of Directors.
BCPS wants all of its students to be successful because successful students grow up to be positive contributing citizens who build healthy communities. This partnership with the Community Foundation of Broward will help achieve that goal.
This initiative is made possible by support from the following Funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: Mary and Alex Mackenzie Community Impact Fund, Mary N. Porter Community Impact Fund, The Allen Family Fund for Children, Broward's Tribute to Children Fund, The Sherman "Red" Crise and Evelyn R. Crise Memorial Fund, The Huizenga Fund for Children, James and Lynn LaBate Family Fund, Lawrence A. Sanders Fund to Promote Literacy, Jim Moran Children's Fund, Sheriff Nick Navarro Fund I, Robert O. Powell Family Fund, Margaret and Cato Roach Tribute Fund, Patricia Lee Rutherford Fund for Children, Sun Sentinel Literacy Fund, Charles and Ruth Taylor Fund, Anna Bloeser Fund, Donald C. Grobmyer, Fund, David and Francie Horvitz Family Fund, Edwin A. and Jane N. Huston Fund, Herschell and Margo Lewis Fund Jan Moran Unrestricted Fund, Norman R. and Ruth Rales Fund, Kathleen Kinney Slappey Fund, LaVere G. and Mabel R. White Fund and Margaret Garrison via Discretionary Community Fund.
ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS - “Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”: Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has more than 271,500 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 234 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 88 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Connect with BCPS: visit the website at browardschools.com, follow BCPS on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.
ABOUT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF BROWARD: Founded in 1984, Community Foundation of Broward helps families, individuals, and corporations create personalized charitable funds that deliver game-changing philanthropic impact. 453 charitable Funds represent more than $197 million in assets, distributing more than $100 million in grants to create BOLD change in Broward over the past 34 years. The Community Foundation provides leadership on community solutions, and foster philanthropy that connects people who care with causes that matter – which empowers visionaries, innovators and doers to create the change they want to see in the community – and BE BOLD. To learn more, visit www.cfbroward.org or call 954-761-9503.