Gaithersburg, Seneca Highs Win $1 Million Grant

October 24, 2003
The U. S. Department of Education has awarded Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) a three-year federal grant of $1 million to help establish smaller learning communities at Gaithersburg and Seneca Valley high schools. The development of smaller learning communities in high schools of 1,000 students or more [such as Gaithersburg and Seneca Valley] is intended to improve academic achievement by providing a more personalized learning environment.

Full implementation of the program is expected by August 2006, but elements of the program are well underway. Both high schools will offer a Connections course designed to help 9th grade students prepare for the rigors of high school. The course will be tailored to meet the varying needs of students. Learning academies, such as the Academy of Finance and Academy of Information Technology currently available at Gaithersburg High School, will allow students to focus on an area of interest during the final three years of high school. A core group of teachers in each academy will foster academic rigor, continuity of instruction, and will help build a sense of community within the academy setting.

The grant will fund two coordinator positions and trained staff to provide rapid intervention if students are encountering academic difficulty, among other initiatives.

The award for Gaithersburg and Seneca Valley high schools follows a previous grant of $1.94 million announced in July of 2002 that is being used to help establish the Downcounty Consortium for the Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Wheaton, and Northwood clusters. Consortium features include smaller learning communities in the participating high schools.

<<Back to browse