Two Arkansas schools to receive $6.1 million in improvement funds


LITTLE ROCK — Two Arkansas schools will receive $6.1 million in federal School Improvement Grant money, state education officials said Monday.

Wonder Junior High School in the West Memphis School District will receive $3.7 million over three years, and Forrest City Junior High School in the Forrest City School District will receive $2.4 million over two years, the state Department of Education said in a news release.

Both schools are classified as “needs improvement priority,” the category for schools most urgently in need of improvement.

The grants, which are awarded to schools through a competitive application process, must be used to implement school improvement models required by the federal government, such as comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development and extended learning time.

Initiatives proposed by the two schools include before-and after-school instructional planning; additional support staff, such as social workers; interventions to help reduce out-of-school suspensions and dropouts; the hiring of firms that specialize in school improvement; partnering with higher education to highlight careers in science and mathematics; technology initiatives; and Saturday morning tutoring programs.

Arkansas has received about $57 million since the School Improvement Grant program was redesigned in 2009.