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Palmerton officials hopeful for education grant money

Published January 19. 2012 05:01PM

Palmerton Area School District has applied for a pair of grants and plans to throw its hat into the ring for a third source of funding.

Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction, informed the school board on Tuesday that applications have been sent in for the Keystones to Opportunity grant and Environmental Education grant.

Also referred to as Striving Readers, the Keystones to Opportunity grant is geared to advance literacy skills - such as pre-literacy skills, reading and writing - for students from birth through grade 12.

Fenner said the size of the grant is dependent of the size of the district. For a district the size of Palmerton, the minimum award is $250,000, with a maximum award of $1,000,000.

Based upon the availability of funds, continuation of grant awards will be made in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The state will award approximately 50-70 districts. Pennsylvania has been awarded over $38.6 million for year one.

Fenner said there is a two-step application process for the grant, and added that the state will let the district know in early February whether it has advanced to the next step in the application process.

On a much smaller scale, Fenner said the district has also applied for an Environmental Education Grant in the amount of $3,000 for S.S. Palmer Elementary and Towamensing Elementary, for a total of $6,000.

If received, she said the grant would be used to purchase microscopes and binoculars for the elementary science program, specifically the Water Study, Forest Ecology, Hawk Migration and Birds of Prey.

The announcements for the successful applicants will be made April 22 in conjunction with Earth day, Fenner said.

Additionally, Fenner said the district will apply for a $15,000 Safe Schools Targeted Grant. The application is due Jan. 31.

The purpose of the grant, Fenner said, is to assist school entities with programs under their comprehensive safe school plans; which include the planning and implementation of activities that prevent or reduce violence by and against students on school property or during transportation.

Also on Tuesday, Superintendent Carol Boyce announced that January is school board recognition month.

"I'd like to thank all of you for the time, effort, and input you put into helping guide our district forward," Boyce said. "Thank you for your service."

Boyce then presented each of the school directors with a certificate of appreciation.

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