RRISD awards $1.21 million in top Innovative School Grants to six schools

Round Rock ISD awarded $1.21 million in Tier III Innovative School Grants to six schools, challenging to research, design and implement innovative unique programs, aligned with the District’s Strategic Plan.

Grant winning campuses consist of Robertson, Laurel Mountain and Purple Sage elementary schools, Deerpark and Hernandez middle schools, and Stony Point High School.

“The Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees is proud to support the Innovative School Grants program,” Board President Paul J. Tisch said. “As a Board, we strive to empower students, teachers and administrators to take charge of their learning and the Innovative School Grants program is an excellent example of that charge in action.”

The grants align with Goal 1 of the RRISD Strategic Plan, which states “we will implement, enhance and support innovative teachings and learning models.” The District previously awarded 34 schools $1.9 million as part of the grant program’s Tier I and Tier II process.

“Purposeful innovation begins at the campus level,” said Dr. Daniel Presley, senior chief of schools and innovation. “It’s exciting to see campus leaders dream of new ways to support students’ learning and I am eager to see the six grant programs come to fruition in the next two years.”

Funded through 2016-2017 budget allocations, the District awarded grants through an internal application and presentation process. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Flores, along with his Executive Leadership Team, ultimately determined the grant recipients.

“Round Rock ISD has become a Destination District for Public Schools as a result of passionate educators within our team,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Flores. “The grants have given our staff the opportunity to dream big and take action, benefiting students. I am proud and honored to work alongside our students and staff as we continue to bring new learning opportunities to our schools.”

Laurel Mountain — $250,000 for Expanding Schoolwide Enrichment
Laurel Mountain has been awarded $250,00 to expand its Schoolwide Enrichment Model, which creates learning opportunities tailored to student’s interests. The grant will fund the transformation of the campus science lab into a flexible teaching/learning kitchen and makers’ laboratory. The grant will also fund the construction of an outdoor learning shelter that will provide a space for environmental projects and service learning initiatives.

Laurel Mountain also received a $75,000 Tier II Innovative School Grant to create a Natural Play Area, that will include sensory-play features, an outdoor classroom and performance amphitheater and trail improvements around the campus.

Purple Sage — $160,000 for World Language Enrichment
Purple Sage has been awarded $160,000 to implement a world language program, offering students an opportunity to learn Mandarin, Spanish or Telegu in kindergarten through fifth grade. Each student will attend their respective language enrichment course daily for 30 minutes with a goal to prepare students for a global society and open doors for future careers.

Robertson — $250,000 for Blended Learning
Robertson has been awarded $250,000, which the campus will use to close its achievement gap through a Blended Learning model. Through the five-year Blended Learning implementation, students work with technology and traditional lessons to accelerate learning at their own pace in English Language Arts and math.

Robertson also received a $45,000 Tier II Innovative School Grant for Blended Learning, bringing the total amount allocated to the project to $295,000.

Deerpark — $190,000 for Interdisciplinary Learning
Deerpark has been awarded $190,000 to advance interdisciplinary learning, with a focus on Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math, providing students access to real-world experiences both inside and outside the classroom. Interdisciplinary learning has the potential to include classroom innovations, field trips, evening activities, after-school programs and weekend or summer programs.

Deerpark also received a $43,934 Tier II Innovative School Grant for Culturally Connecting Classrooms, which will unique sixth-grade mainstream education students, various special population groups and art students to celebrate and better understand diversity on campus.

Hernandez — $250,000 for STEM Learning Model
Hernandez has been awarded $250,000 to apply a learning model centered on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) throughout the school, which will empower all students to understand the world around them. The grant will fund flexible STEM labs, Girls Who Code and STEM Scouts clubs, professional development for staff and STEM Career Exploration in the community.

Hernandez received a $99,957 Tier II Innovative School Grant to Grow STEM Learners The Hernandez Way, bringing STEM-focused grant funding to t total of $349,957. The Tier II grant focuses on building an IB STEM curriculum to the campus to ensure student success beyond middle school.

Stony Point — $110,000 for Audio-Visual Lab
Stony Point has been awarded $110,000 for the creation of an Audio-Visual lab to enrich current campus courses, increase campus communication and facilitate the development of student-centric training initiatives. The two-year project will include the implementation of innovative, advanced courses like Advanced Journalism and Broadcasting/Campus Media Services. Students will work collaboratively while learning hands-on skills to tell the campus’ positive stories through a variety of mediums and share their work on social media.

Stony Point also received a $100,000 Tier II Innovative School Grant for Increasing IB Participation Through MYP Authorization, which will bring the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) to the campus to better prepare students to graduate under the IB Diploma Programme.