Area school districts get state teacher training grants

Monday, February 24, 2014
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— A half-dozen area school districts have received state Department of Education grants to increase their teacher-training efforts.

The Ballston Spa Central School District received the largest grant in the Capital Region, $532,250, awarded last week under the third round of the “Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness” grant program.

The goal is to lay the groundwork for a master teacher and principal leader fellowship program in each district, as teacher performance evaluations increase. Selected teachers will serve as instructional and content experts, providing coaching, support and classroom professional development.

“This grant will allow us to leverage the expertise of the strongest practitioners we have in the classroom to support our commitment to building instructional capacity across the district,” said Ballston Spa School Superintendent Joseph P. Dragone. “These new leadership roles will help us scale best practices as developed by our greatest asset: The teachers that work with our children every day.”

The grant also supports professional development training.

The Mohonasen Central School District in Rotterdam received $365,500, the second time in three years it has received an award.

“With recent budget reductions, we’ve had to cut back on professional development substantially,” said Mohonasen Superintendent Kathleen Spring. “This grant will help us help our teachers and administrators continually refine their skills so our students are receiving the best instruction we can give them, which is our mission.”

Other districts receiving grants included Johnstown, $224,568; Corinth, $147,000; Mayfield, $111,125; and Fort Plain, $100,000.

Statewide, 42 districts and charter schools received funding totalling $24.2 million, according to the state Education Department.

Public school districts and public charter schools in which at least 25 percent of the students are from low-income families and which have an approved annual professional performance review plan were eligible for the “Strengthening Teacher and Leadership Effectiveness” grants.

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