Three School District of Palm Beach County schools – Gove Elementary School, Palm Beach Lakes High School and West Riviera Elementary School – will receive grants totaling $7.6 million from the Florida Department of Education as part of the “Schools of Hope” program.
Palm Beach Lakes High will receive $4.6 million, West Riviera Elementary will receive $1.5 million, and Gove Elementary will receive $1.49 million, for a total of $7.6 million from the Department of Education. Each school submitted competitive grants for Schools of Hope money, and will use the funds for everything from professional development for teachers to wraparound social services for students.
Each school received D grades for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years, making them eligible to apply for the Schools of Hope grants.
“This is a significant accomplishment for these schools, and will give them much-needed money to help our students succeed,” said Dr. David Christiansen, the District’s Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Schools. “These three schools have a unique opportunity to demonstrate what public schools can do to deliver a return on investment.”
At Palm Beach Lakes High, the money will go toward teacher training, providing additional resources for students to develop social and personal skills, and additional computers and other equipment for the school, said Principal David Alfonso. “My students are going to have opportunities they never would have had, if we didn’t have this $4 million,” Alfonso said. “With this money, we’re going to close that achievement gap.”
Gove Elementary Principal Kim Thomasson said the money will help provide essential wrap-around social services for her students and families, as well as additional training for Gove’s teachers. “This money is going to impact the whole child,” Thomasson said. “Some of our parents are struggling, and they just can’t get their children to school. Having those wrap-around services is going to be huge in helping those parents.”
Dr. Robin Brown, Principal of West Riviera Elementary, said the money “will be a great support to what we are trying to accomplish here. It means funding for people to help our students achieve at a higher level, and really to help enhance our total instructional program.”
Superintendent Robert Avossa said that much of the money will be concentrated on wraparound services, including mental health and counseling, “really driving this idea that kids need to be well if they’re going to do great in school.” He credited the work of teachers, principals and principal supervisors in helping the schools secure the grants.
“We’ve got great things happening in our schools, but they don’t happen in isolation. They happen because we have a vision, a mission, a set of core beliefs and a strategic plan that’s guiding our work,” Dr. Avossa said. “This is huge news.”