The Panama Buena Vista Union School District announced on November 14 that it has been awarded a five-year, $7 million School Improvement Grant (SIG) from the California Department of Education (CDE).
Funding will be used to improve learning outcomes at Charles H. Castle Elementary School, one of the district's most socioeconomically disadvantaged and lowest-performing schools. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office assisted the district with its grant proposal and will support implementation of a comprehensive improvement plan.
The grant will allow the district to implement the Castle STEAM Academy, which will prepare students in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) through a problem-based learning approach.
"We have a unique opportunity to take the best educational ideas from the private, charter and public institutions throughout the country and implement them in a neighborhood elementary school," District Superintendent Kevin Silberberg said. "We have the talent, desire and funding to make it happen and further the district's vision of Excellence in Education!"
Implementation of the Castle STEAM Academy will focus on five key elements:
- Leadership reform
- Teaching and learning
- Student non-academic support
- Family and community engagement
- Support and oversight
The Castle STEAM Academy will take shape over the next 18 months, with full implementation expected during the 2017-2018 school year.