Round Rock ISD has awarded Deerpark Middle School a $190,000 Tier III Innovative School Grant focused on advancing interdisciplinary learning.
Deerpark will use the $190,000 grant to provide students access to real-world experiences both inside and outside the classroom, with the potential to include classroom innovations, field trips, evening activities, after-school programs and weekend or summer programs.
“It is paramount that our students are exposed to higher level education institutions for them to perceive and believe that they too can achieve academic greatness,” Deerpark Principal Jonathan Smith said.
Grant resources will be utilized for congruent 21st-century training, collaborative learning spaces, technology upgrades and field studies that will provide student exposure to college and career environments. Additionally, students will have access to community outreach programs including an on-campus mentor program, cultivation of community partnerships and development of opportunities outside the classroom for students to demonstrate their results.
The internal application Deerpark administration submitted cited a two-year implementation plan, which begins this year. Professional development for teachers will expand and attune with results obtained through conducting student interest surveys.
“Our interdisciplinary teams can build academic content based on the interconnectedness of multiple subjects as well as current/relevant materials to incorporate student interests,” Smith said. “The heightened level of student-centric lessons within the teaching and learning process will allow students to feel comfortable to struggle. Our students will be able to feel safe within discovery and willing to take inquisitive risks.”
The Tier III grant aligns 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.
Deerpark also received a $43,934 Tier II Innovative School Grant for Culturally Connecting Classrooms, which will connect sixth-grade mainstream education students, various special population groups and art students to celebrate and better understand diversity on campus.
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