Laurel Mountain and Purple Sage elementary schools have been awarded two of the six Tier III Innovative School Grants, which will fund a two-year implementation of campus-wide programs.
The Tier III grants, totaling $1.21 million, 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.
The $250,000 Tier III Innovative School Grant awarded to Laurel Mountain will support the expansion of its Schoolwide Enrichment Model, which creates learning opportunities tailored to student’s interests. The grant will also fund the transformation of the campus science lab into a flexible teaching/learning kitchen and makers’ laboratory and the construction of an outdoor learning shelter that will provide a space for environmental projects and service learning initiatives.
The grant implementation will span two years, and will be completed in May 2018. During the initial year, Laurel Mountain staff will plan learning opportunities tailored to the new spaces, plan for construction and create an Innovative Action Team to oversee the success of the grant initiatives. Construction on the new flexible learning spaces will occur during summer 2017.
“Laurel Mountain is committed to providing unique learning opportunities to serve the academic and social-emotional needs of our students,” Laurel Mountain Principal Jan Richards said. “We feel fortunate and honored to have received Innovative School Grants and look forward to building on our campus’ success.”
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.
The $160,000 Tier III Innovative School Grant awarded to Purple Sage will fund the implementation of 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.
During the two-year grant implementation, Purple Sage staff will begin offering an opt-in language enrichment, develop a school-wide world language curriculum and participate in Project Based Learning (PBL) professional development. The second year of implementation will include campus-wide world language studies with specific curriculum for kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade. Classes will complete PBL projects during the 2017-2018 school year to further understand how they can impact individuals across the world.
“Exposing our students to world languages during elementary will lay a foundation for their future successes,” Purple Sage Principal Sara Nelson said. “We are excited to innovate and create new learning opportunities for our students through the World Languages program.”