BRIGHTON — Southeast Elementary School was honored for its academic success Jan. 29 when the Foundations for Great Schools announced they would be receiving a $20,000 grant. The elementary school was one of 14 schools in the Denver metro area to receive the award.
Principal Sarah James said everyone is “just thrilled” to learn of the grant. Southeast Elementary School was selected for its academic performance, percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch, school culture, leadership and instructional effectiveness.
According to James, the school has been steady in demonstrating growth in TCAP scores over the past six years. She said this year, though, the school was able to increase its median growth score in math from the 50th percentile to the 70th percentile.
“It’s a great celebration for our staff and students and the Southeast community,” she said. “There are so many people who are a part of the TCAP scores in the spring and it’s a big celebration for all of us.”
She also said about 50 percent of students enrolled in the school qualify for free and reduced lunch, which was also a factor in receiving the grant.
The grant will be used to purchase technology, specifically LCD projectors, which take information from a computer or document cameras and project it onto a screen.
“Last year our PTO, through our building fundraisers, was able to give us enough money to wire and mount LCD projectors in the classrooms and purchase the LCD projectors as well and that leaves 16 classrooms left,” she said. “So this money will go towards wiring and mounting LCD projectors in all classrooms so all classrooms will have the ability to connect to technology.”
James said the LCD projectors are another way for the students to learn rather than just having textbooks and lectures. She said teachers can utilize anything that’s on the Internet that’s appropriate for students and that it brings a wide range of media into the classroom that the school otherwise doesn’t have.
“This is kind of phase one for us of bringing technology into the classroom,” she said. “Then we’ll begin to explore bringing tablets and document cameras into the classroom, so this is really kind of the foundational technology that’s essential to be in all classrooms in order to continue our forward movement.”
Foundations for Great Schools distributed a total of $435,000 in grant monies to the 14 schools selected, according to a foundation news release.
“The schools we are recognizing today have shown they can motivate and teach students to make significant academic progress. They have taken whatever challenges they might face and turned them into opportunities for success,” spokesman Tom Kaesemeyer said. “Each of these schools is achieving very strong results in academic growth and performance and the strategies they are taking to achieve that success deserve to be recognized.”
For more information about Foundations for Great Schools or the award winners, visit www.foundationsforgreatschools.org.