When the Christie administration yesterday announced $1 million in special education grants, what would normally be routine had a new twist: only the state’s lower achieving schools need apply.
The state Department of Education said that, for the first time, it steered these particular federal funds aimed at students with disabilities to districts deemed “Priority” or “Focus” schools — the administration’s new nomenclature for schools with either the lowest performance overall or the widest achievement gaps, respectively.
Nineteen schools received the grants, out of 29 that applied. Fifteen of the recipients are “Priority” schools, the term for the lowest performing overall. The overall list included both suburban and urban schools, from Morris to Jersey City, receiving grants ranging from $20,000 to $200,000.
“We have focused intensive efforts this past year to help turn around our lowest-performing schools, and these grants will provide additional support to those schools,” said state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf in announcing the grants.
“Whether they provide classroom programs, new reading materials and technology for students, or professional development for teachers and training for parents, the students will benefit.”
The following schools were awarded grants: