FORT WAINWRIGHT – Due to the large enrollment of military-connected students in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, the Department of Defense Education Activity recently awarded the district a $1 million grant. The award was part of a grant distribution to 45 military-connected local education agencies across the United States.
Of the roughly 11,260 students served by the FNSBSD, 2,364 (21 percent) are children who are military connected. This means they have a least one parent who is serving fulltime on active duty in the United States Armed Forces, including fulltime National Guard duty.
“I was thrilled to learn that DoDEA saw the importance of supporting our military families here in the Pacific region with money that helps to provide educational resources to the local schools our military kids attend in the communities where they live,” said the Installation Management Command-Pacific director, Craig Deatrick.
The DoDEA grants in general are focused on improving educational outcomes, narrowing achievement gaps, and providing access to academic programs that promote continuity in districts with a high population of military-connected students. The grant to the FNSBSD will focus on boosting math education at nine secondary schools with greater than 10% military-connected student enrollment.
For highly mobile student populations such as military-connected students, the commonly offered 4-semester Algebra course option can take students down a path that is very difficult to recover from and graduate high school on time, or at all. With COVID interruptions, learning gaps have grown. A start-up investment from DoDEA will help train and prepare secondary school teachers and staff to identify, implement, and sustain evidence-based instructional practices that will increase student math achievement and increase student course completion of Algebra 1. An Algebra 1 instructional coach will lead “Operation Arctic Algebra Advancement.” Efforts will focus on professional development and coaching teachers to optimize positive student outcomes.
“Slowing students down is not an effective instructional strategy. This grant would give us another powerful arrow in our quiver as we target our math, and more specifically, Algebra 1 success,” said Chane Beam, executive director of teaching and learning for the FNSBSD.
The DoDEA grant program has proven to be a powerful tool over the past decade, providing resources to school districts educating approximately one million military-connected students in 36 states. Since 2009, DoDEA has awarded over 600 grants, totaling more than $716 million. These grants have impacted more than 3 million students in more than 140 local education agencies across the United States.
The DoDEA Education Partnership and Resources division’s work extends to students in U.S. and foreign locations that are not directly served by a DoDEA school, such as the students of Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base. Through collaboration with multiple internal and external partners, technical assistance, resources and support are provided to facilitate continuity of education and equitable learning experiences for military-connected transitioning students PreK-grade 12. “We have long seen how our partnership with DoDEA has brought success for our military-connected students. This partnership is another amazing opportunity we have to join forces and support students in reaching high school graduation. By supporting educators to perfect their craft in Algebra instruction, we will see success for the students currently taking these courses and reap the benefit for generations to come,” said Karen Melin, FNSBSD Chief School Administrator.
Learn more about DoDEA grants at www.dodea.edu/partnership.