CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Eaton Rapids Public Schools will receive $2.5 million in federal relief funding, and some of the money is going towards a new English language arts curriculum.
Superintendent Bill DeFrance said the funding is a one-time investment given to the district.
It will be allocated across three school years, beginning this year.
Here’s the breakdown of some of the things the funds will go towards in the first year. They hired a counselor at their elementary building for first and second graders, and they hired an intervention specialist in the building where they have third, fourth and fifth graders. The funds will also go towards additional cleaning support as they prepare to go back to in-person learning in the fall.
A new English language arts curriculum called EL Education was also purchased.
DeFrance said it will allow them to develop reading programs that are more tailored to the students.
As to why the district felt it was best to invest in the new curriculum, “What we found was our kids weren’t making the progress that we would like to see on our academic performance in kindergarten through fifth grade,” DeFrance said.
The new English curriculum will be implemented this upcoming school year. All K-5 teachers have had at least 12 hours of training, and more is to come.
Chris Rupp, the director of curriculum and instructional technology for Eaton Rapids Schools said the new program will have a lot of added benefits for kids.
“Our students are going to be engaged in lots more reading in science and social studies. And balancing informational text with literary text," Rupp said. "They’re also going to be involved in more project-based, so there is going to be multiple ways for them to demonstrate their learning.”
Rupp said Saginaw Public Schools and Detroit Public Schools are or have implemented the EL Education curriculum.
Susan Wilke has been teaching kindergarten for 37 years, about 26 of those have been at Eaton Rapids Public Schools.
Wilke said they’ve been using the last language arts program for about six or seven years.
“This will be new and fresh and exciting for me," Wilke said. "I’m excited about the new stories and the new things that go along. And learning like the stations sounds very exciting to me.”
How the money will be spent for years two and three will depend on how this upcoming school year goes with the new changes.
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