Administrator’s Corner: Planning budget around grants

Published 9:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2017

Administrator’s Corner by Lori Volz

The Albert Lea Area Schools District 241 has been very fortunate to receive numerous educational grants over the years. We currently have two grants that are in their final year of entitlement from the Minnesota Department of Education, state aid for alternative delivery of specialized services and the compensatory pilot grant.

The ADSIS grant funds 6.8 full-time equivalent teachers in their role of instructional interventionists.

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There are four elementary teachers, two middle school and one high school interventionists. These teachers work closely with the classroom teacher in providing additional instructional support to students who are behind in reading and math.

Lori Volz

Lori Volz

The compensatory pilot grant provides funding for three instructional coaches and 2.25 interventionists.

The instructional coaches service the elementary and middle schools providing instructional strategies and guidance to classroom teachers on math and reading instruction as well as classroom management strategies. The interventionists provide math and reading instructional support to students in a manner similar to the ADSIS teachers.

The district is very pleased with the effectiveness of these two grants. It supports the professional development of teacher instructional practices as well as increased student achievement. The interventionist positions guide the reading and math proficiency results for the economically disadvantaged students in the elementary level. We can specifically track these positive results in grades three, four and five. Our student’s proficiency scores either meet or exceed the state proficiency percentages in most cases.

The state aid funding for these two grants is over $700,000. The district will have to wait until the legislature approves the next 17-18, 18-19 biennium of funding to determine if they will be continue to be eligible for these two grants. The legislature typically approves the funding formulas by the month of June. Unfortunately, we have to compile our budgets assuming that these grants will not be in place since we must have our 17-18 staffing finalized prior to June. If MDE does renew these grants, the district will proceed with filling these positions at that time.

Lori Volz is the deputy superintendent for Albert Lea Area Schools.