$44 million improvement grant to Florida’s lowest-performing schools

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday that Florida’s Department of Education is granting $44 million to support 149 struggling Florida public schools. The money will be given as federal Unified School Improvement Grant funds. These funds will support initiatives for Florida’s education system and school improvements in the lowest-performing 5% of schools in Florida.

Twenty of those schools are in Duval County, four in Alachua County, one in Clay County, and one is in Putnam.

Educators who teach at these low-performing institutions who have earned highly effective or effective ratings may receive up to $15,000. 

Principals may be able to qualify for up to $45,000 for recruitment, retention, and performance initiatives. A single assistant principal from the school may also qualify for $10,000 for recruitment and retention. 

Each individual school will be given up to $100,000 to fund an Early Literacy Coach with the goal of supporting the 2021-2022 adoption of and professional development for the English Language B.E.S.T. Standards, as well as an additional $100,000 to fund a school-based Strategic Initiatives Coach. These coaches will provide support to the B.E.S.T. Standards adoption and will regularly review the submission of real-time progress monitoring data to guide teacher practices and instructional support. 

Supplemental teacher professional development and instructional materials will be funded by $30,000 and support the B.E.S.T. Standards adoption and implementation. 

“It can be hard for struggling schools to recruit and retain top talent, and today I’m proud to announce $44 million to address this problem,” DeSantis said in a statement announcing the distribution of federal funding. “I have consistently said that the number one way to create great opportunities for our students is by ensuring they have great teachers. In Florida, we will continue to take a strategic, data-driven approach to make our schools the best in the country.”

Qualifying schools in Northeast Florida

Alachua County: Caring & Sharing Learning School, Idylwild Elementary School, Joseph Williams Elementary School, Lake Forest Elementary School

Clay County: Charles E. Bennett Elementary School

Duval County: BridgePrep Academy, Duval Tiger Academy, Annie R. Morgan Elementary School, Arlington Elementary, Carter G. Woodson Elementary School, George Washington Carver Elementary, Highlands Middle School, J. E. B. Stuart Middle School, Jefferson Davis Middle School, Pine Estates Elementary School, Pinedale Elementary School, Ramona Boulevard Elementary School, Reynolds Lane Elementary School, Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary School, Sallye B. Mathis Elementary School, Southside Middle School, Susie E. Tolbert Elementary School, Timucuan Elementary School, Westview K-8, Young Mens/Womens Leadership Academy At Eugene J Butler

Putnam County: Putnam Edge High School

St. Johns County: The Webster School

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