Jamestown Public Schools has received over $7 million dollars in state and federal grants in the 2013-14 school year. These grants provide important programming for students and teachers. Without these grants, funding for many of these programs would have to come out of Jamestown Schools' general operating budget.
"My central administration staff has worked very hard to procure and manage these grants, which directly benefit Jamestown students and teachers," said JPS Superintendent Tim O. Mains. "On paper, our operating budget is $75 million but in reality we spend $82 million. Because we receive over $7 million in grants, we can fund programming that we would either not be able to offer, or the we would have to include in the operating budget, which would affect our local taxpayers."
The districts' grants fund programming that ranges from universal prekindergarten (UPK) to extending the school day to intervention services to professional development of Jamestown School staff.
UPK students Matthew Gray, Nelson Pinero-Ocasio and Dakota McMaster play during one of their stations at Chautauqua Opportunities’ Head Start Program, where 110 new seats were provided for Jamestown students through a JPS grant.
The UPK Grant provides 4-year-old students with an opportunity to access high-quality prekindergarten programs that will provide the foundation to help prepare them for future school success.
A separate, Full Day/Extended UPK Grant increases the availability of high-quality prekindergarten placements for the highest need children.
A total of 126 new UPK students were added in Jamestown with the Extended UPK grant and 52 half-time students were increased to full-time.
The district received almost $1.7 million in UPK grants.
"The UPK grants afford our youngest students a high-quality, first-time school experience," said Tina Sandstrom, JPS' director of schools.
"UPK helps students obtain kindergarten readiness skills. The grants the district have received are instrumental in ensuring that we provide opportunities for as many of Jamestown's youngest learners as possible."
JPS also received an extension on its Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention (ESD/SVP) grant, which provides support to students, through extended school day programs.
ESD programs include academic enrichment activities, such as tutoring in math, science and reading, and opportunities for participants in art, music, drama, recreation, student leadership development and community service.
Some of the programs currently funded through the ESD grant include: elementary after school programming, After School Amigos at Love Elementary School, Mentors on the Move at the Eastside YMCA, middle school reading programs, Chautauqua Striders tutoring, and middle school STEM instruction. The district received an ESD/SVP grant in the amount of $342,078.
JPS recently received a brand new grant this year - the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) Grant, which helps the district offer additional professional development opportunities to staff. The grant supports a comprehensive approach to recruitment, development, support, retention and equitable distribution of effective teachers and school leaders. It recognizes and rewards accomplished teachers and school leaders by establishing career ladder positions to provide peer coaching and professional development support to colleagues. JPS received $623,067 and was one of only 42 school districts statewide to receive the grant.
"One of the most influential and lasting forms of professional development is the regular opportunity for educators to learn from their peers - those who face the same challenges and share a common experience," said Jessie Joy, JPS' director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. "While this kind of professional learning often happens informally in schools, the STLE grant will provide our district the resources to develop a more formal structure that recognizes our own highly accomplished educators while creating more consistent opportunities for others to benefit from their expertise."