The Public School System, in partnership with the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning, or McREL, has submitted a grant application to the U.S. Department of Education that, if approved, will bring the public schools over $3 million in new funding.
Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan told Saipan Tribune that this is the first time for Commonwealth public schools to explore a new federal funding opportunity designed to help school districts effectively implement Common Core standards.
Common Core standards define the knowledge and skills students should learn from kindergarten to grade 12 so that when they graduate high school, they are ready for entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and workforce training programs.
Sablan said the PSS proposal was submitted to the Institute of Education Sciences, an organization within USDOE, last Sept. 8.
“The proposal we submitted to USDOE through IES is a grant application that would allow us to continually improve the delivery of instructions on the Common Core standards for English, language arts, and math primarily focusing on a 90-day learning cycle and continuous improvement process that would help us improve the delivery of instruction in primary grades,” she explained.
If PSS succeeds in getting the grant, Sablan said it will be used to implement Common Core standards next school year 2014-2015.
According to Sablan, the $3 million is a three-year grant specifically designed for in-depth knowledge and research on Common Core standards.
PSS began enforcing the Common Core standards for English, language arts, and mathematics in school year 2011, aligning PSS with 48 U.S. states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Common Core state standards initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
According to its proponents, the standards are aligned with college and work expectations; are clear, understandable and consistent; include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills; build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards; are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in the global economy and society; and are evidence-based.