ABOUT THE GRANTS
The Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) provides grants to schools and districts around the world that serve "military connected" families. The purpose of the grants is to ensure students that are impacted by Department of Defense operations, receive additional resources to address special needs that are unique to military communities. Since it's inception, these funds are being used to help build the culture and capacity within the elementary schools, eventually building a pipeline from grades Pre-K through post-secondary and beyond.
DoDEA and AACPS
Anne Arundel County Public Schools has been the recipient of several grants over the past decade. Each grant has had a different application and addressed different needs. Going forward, the district continues to seek funds through the DoDEA grants in order to best serve our military students, families and community. Below is a list of grants that AACPS has received. Click on the grant project to learn more.
Cyber Launch Grant
The Cyber LAUNCH Grant project was born out of recognition of need to help students develop cyber technology knowledge base within a 21st Century Skills framework. the DoDEA Grants team is working in concert with the AACPS Career and Technology Education, Library Media and the Advanced Studies and Programs offices to ensure that students are provided with a variety of curricular and co-curricular opportunities. These opportunities will engage students through hands-on learning in classrooms, but also through after schools and summer experiences. The goal is to help identify students with an interest for computers and cyber technology and then to connect them with industry partners to foster their passion as a career.
The Meade Family Tapestry Project first aims to increase our educators’ understanding of what it means to be a military student by purposefully welcoming and interviewing students and parents early each school year – we need to listen. This knowledge will drive our collaborative work with community organizations, business, and government partners to develop a healthy social-emotional school and classroom learning culture where all students feel safe, supported, and excited to learn. Building upon our prior work in the Meade-area schools, this project will create a multi-layered Professional Learning Community to provide opportunities for preK-12 students and their families to engage in a rigorous and relevant educational journey together. We will weave our community stakeholders and educators into a beautiful tapestry of support designed to increase the positive nature of all students’ school learning experiences, increase math engagement and achievement, and increase reading comprehension among reluctant secondary school readers. Inside our school classrooms, in afterschool clubs, and throughout the community we will see students with greater levels of self-esteem, emotional stability, mathematics learning, and literacy – students ultimately prepared for future social, emotional, and academic success in their personal and professional lives
Special Education Award
Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) is dedicated to “Elevating ALL Students and Eliminating ALL Gaps.” That dedication is critical to increasing the academic growth of students with disabilities (SWD) who lag behind their non-disabled peers, particularly in the areas of math and reading. SWD who live in military families face challenges that often require additional supports and resources, especially when mobility rates are high and disruptions to educational services are frequent. Gaps in performance that are compounded by a disability make it difficult for students to master skills, especially those required by the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
AACPS, with the support of the DoDEA Partnership Program, will develop the capacity of teachers in six Meade-area schools to analyze achievement gaps in reading and math between SWD and non-disabled students.* Once there is a thorough comprehension of the gaps, teachers will increase the utilization of data from formative assessments (including student self-assessments) to differentiate instruction and increase student mastery of the CCSS. Ongoing data collection and analysis will help teachers identify which students are struggling and determine what skills to pre-teach or reteach through specialized instruction.
Specialized instruction should be targeted and engaging. The use of project-based learning and technology provide opportunities for students to actively engage in acquiring new skills and concepts. Professional development, resources and time for planning will be made available to ensure teachers have the necessary tools they need to deliver high quality specialized instruction. Frequent classroom visits and the use of the AACPS electronic Instructional Coaching Tool will provide real time data reflecting instructional practices used in classrooms and will be the stimulus for targeted instructional coaching with teachers.
STEM Marathon Grant
The STEM College and Career Marathon Project (STEM C&C Marathon) will give Anne Arundel County military students the STEM interest, passion, and persistence needed to successfully engage and achieve in mathematics at high levels. This math success provides open doors to 21st century STEM careers.
Building on the community engagement and teacher training already established in four of the eight target schools, this project will expand STEM opportunities both horizontally across the district and vertically through the PreK-12 pipeline to include all eight eligible district schools. This project will use focused professional development, community outreach/engagement strategies, STEM-related co-curricular offerings, and academic support programs to increase student engagement in STEM disciplines and activities leading to increased student achievement in mathematics. Specifically, STEM C&C Marathon will infuse teaching and learning strategies for relevant math learning that are inquiry-rich, project/problem-based and promote student-to-student verbal communication to increase the rigor and excitement of mathematics instruction. Readying students for STEM success is a commitment that requires time, motivation, dedication, support and practice. Educators working in collaboration with community business, industry, military, and family partners provide our students with the skills, persistence, and passion to go the distance to become lifelong STEM marathon learners and workers.
During its three-year running, between 50% to 100% of teachers within the participating schools have received over 200 hours of professional development. In addition to field trips and co-curricular activities, schools have integrated STEM-rich activities, such as JESS and PEEP, into their regular curricula, and school-wide activities, such as Hour of Code and STEM Day, are now part of the regular schedule. Since the implementation of the grant, discipline referrals at the middle and high school were cut by half, and attendance at all participant schools have exceeded the state standard. Average statewide assessments results in mathematics for the elementary schools exceeded state averages in all three grades, and AACPS averages for grades 3 and 5. The average attendance of military-connected students surpassed that of their nonmilitary-connected peers in all schools; likewise, average results on the statewide assessments results for military-connected students were as good as or better than results for their nonmilitary-connected peers.
STEM @ Meade Grant
The STEM@MEADE project was the first DoDEA grant awarded to AACPS. The 1.5 million dollars grant extended from September 2010 through June 2014 and focused on four elementary schools within the Meade High School feeder system: Manor View, Meade Heights, Pershing Hill and West Meade. The project had the objective of improving the mathematics achievement of students in the target schools by creating a rich STEM community culture that provided students with experiences and opportunities within the schools and in the community. Daily, relevant STEM curricular and co-curricular experiences were added to rigorous academics to prepare students for the highly technological world in which they live. Pathways were implemented as the students transitioned from elementary school into the secondary feeder schools to continue to take advantage of their STEM interests. The project involved all stakeholders including the schools, the families and the community, especially STEM professionals to promote this new STEM culture and support student success.
Among the many successes of the project, two are worth mention. First, between the baseline years and the end of the project, the target schools experienced considerable increases in the percentage of students eligible for Free and Reduced Meals (FARM) program (average of 60% increase); despite this increase, for all schools and grades, 80% or more of the students attained or surpassed the proficient levels at the state mathematics and science tests. Moreover, FARM students at most grades and schools performed as well as their non-FARM peers. Second, a steep decline (about 70%) was found in numbers of discipline referrals and suspensions between the baseline year and the end of the grant, although school population increased.