WASD to Receive $1M Grant to Support College and Career Readiness Program


The Williamsport Area School District announced tonight that it will receive upwards of $1 million in grant funding over a three-year period to implement the National Math and Science Initiative’s College Readiness Program at Williamsport Area High School, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.

According to NMSI, WASD is among just 22 school districts across the state to receive such funding over the last four years to support the installation of its College Readiness Program, which works to ensure “more students have access to the challenging classes that will prepare them for future success.” Further, “the three-year program dramatically increases the number of students taking and earning qualifying scores on Advanced Placement (AP) math, science and English exams and has a proven track record of improving results for traditionally underserved and female students.”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Susan L. Bigger said the district was notified in February of the grant opportunity by Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, through whose office it surfaced.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the students and teachers at Williamsport,” Yaw said. “While this investment will certainly provide another level of pre-college support, it can be a game-changer for our region economically by enhancing the skills of our future workforce. I am pleased to have been able to bring WASD and the National Math and Science Initiative together, and congratulate the district on receiving this important funding.”

Bigger, along with WAHS Head Principal Dr. Brandon Pardoe and with input from a team of high school AP teachers, took the lead on filing the application.

“The district is significantly grateful to Sen. Yaw’s office and NMSI for providing the opportunity for this type of funding that only could be realized through the grant,” Bigger said. “This opportunity provides access and opportunity to achieve AP curriculum for all high school students. NMSI takes an approach that, by removing barriers and providing teacher and student resources, levels the playing field for all students to achieve and be college and career ready.”

The grant will provide data-driving partnerships for goal setting; teachers will receive course-specific training, mentoring, year-round support and classroom-ready materials; and students will have access to classroom and lab supplies, as well as specialized study sessions led by national experts.

“We are appreciative of this grant opportunity that will provide instructional mentorship to our teachers and enhance student learning for our students by exposing them to rigorous content in the area of AP English, math and science courses,” Pardoe said. “The opportunities afforded through this funding stream will certainly benefit our students greatly.”

NMSI reports that the program has made a “dramatic and lasting difference” in more than 725 high schools across the country. Here in Pennsylvania, 10 southwestern county high schools have already implemented the program, three of which led the nation in the percentage of

increase in AP scores: West Alleghany High School in 2016, and Trinity High School and Kiski High School in 2017. All high schools in this region obtained gains in overall student achievement as well.

(Information from Greg Hayes)

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