The California Department of Education (CDE) has selected Castaic High School and 11 other schools throughout the state to receive mini-grants, totaling more than $240,000, to help address equity and opportunity gaps, announced State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.
Castaic High School will receive $20,000 to pay for district buses to pick up students from a central location in an underserved neighborhood.
Since the applications were announced in December 2020 as part of CDE’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic’s continued impact on students, more than 400 schools and districts across California applied for the grants, which are funded by contributions from philanthropic partners.
The funds must be used to advance equity and close opportunity and access gaps. The grantees are given discretion to decide how they will address the topic of equity.
“It’s been an unprecedented, unpredictable year for our schools, and California’s educators have been looking for resources and support to ensure that students can still attend class, access a great education, and learn and achieve during the pandemic,” Thurmond said. “Congratulations to these school districts for showing their communities that they’re committed to recognizing and addressing opportunity gaps during the pandemic and providing targeted supports to students and families who have been struggling.”
Issues addressed by the grant funds include transportation, internet connectivity, modifying spaces to serve as family resource centers, one-on-one academic intervention, mentorship for students struggling with distance learning and asynchronous instruction, small group tutoring, home visits, professional development for educators needing assistance with technology, and a variety of other family engagement activities.
Since last spring, the State Superintendent and the CDE have maintained an ongoing and urgent focus on addressing the numerous access and opportunity gaps that impact student learning—gaps that, in many cases, have deepened and become newly exposed during the pandemic.
During the past year, the CDE has secured hundreds of thousands of computing devices for students, pressured internet service providers to expand access, bolstered mental health and counseling resources, made it easier for schools to provide meals, and provided guidance and dozens of training opportunities for educators to strengthen distance learning for California’s highest-need students.
As the state continues to battle COVID-19, CDE will continue to support efforts to protect the health and safety of school communities while providing the custom supports needed to ensure learning continues and improves.
The Equity Mini-Grant recipients and intended uses of funds are:
– Antioch Unified School District: $20,000 to implement home-visit teams to gain engagement from students and provide support to students and families that are currently not showing high engagement/attendance.
– Castaic High School will receive $20,000 to pay for district buses to pick up students from a central location in an underserved neighborhood.
– Colusa Unified School District: $20,000 for transitioning the current Colusa High School Library to serve as a student and parent resource center.
– Imperial Unified School District: $20,000 to support internet connectivity for our students who live in an underserved area.
– Kern High School District: $20,000 to provide one-to-one academic intervention and support for students with unique needs who have failed multiple classes.
– Lakeside Union School District: $20,000 to provide mentor support to students who continue to struggle with engagement in asynchronous instruction.
– Riverside County Special Education: $20,000 to purchase book bags, books (English/Spanish sets), educational materials/manipulatives for arts and crafts, and staff mileage reimbursement for the home delivery of weekly literacy bags.
– San Ysidro School District: $20,000 to provide support services to students and families to address the academic and technological needs of students and families.
– Sundale Union Elementary School District: $20,000 to strengthen family connection with parents by having students on campus in small cohorts during non-school days/intercessions.
– Tehachapi Unified School District: $21,352.32 to provide additional opportunities for credit recovery for seniors who are at risk of not graduating.
– Twin Rivers Unified School District: $20,000 to train and provide support to teachers displaying the highest needs for support during distance learning.
– West Contra Costa Unified School District: $20,000 to expand capacity to provide outreach and mentorship to students by hiring a full-time mentor through the Peacemaker program.