January 19, 2019

More than $75K worth of AGS projects to be funded by 2 percent grant

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Au GRES — Updated classroom libraries, alternative education curriculum, dual-enrollment programs and the continuation of the one-to-one Chromebook program are all projects the Au Gres-Sims school district plans to fund with grants from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe 2 percent distribution.

In total, the school district received $75,816 from the tribe distributed among 10 projects, including the ones mentioned above.

Superintendent Jeffrey Collier said the impact of the tribe’s distributions is truly unbelievable and the effect they will have on the Au Gres-Sims school district is a “gamechanger.”

Collier said grants such as these from the tribe allow the district to make improvements for its students in a timely manner that it otherwise might not be able to achieve.

“One of the things that we focus on all the time is ‘every student, every day,’” Collier said. “When we write these grants, we write them for the fact that they will be used by as many students or to the benefit of as many students as possible.”

The school’s largest grant award was $25,000 to support its dual-enrollment program that allows students to participate in collegiate- level courses and earn credits for their postsecondary career, Collier said.

In partnership with Alpena Community College, Au Gres-Sims provides a space on its own campus that acts as a satellite facility for the college, Collier said. In turn, Alpena Community College charges in-district tuition rates and sends professors to Au Gres-Sims to lead courses.

Collier said the grant from the tribe helps offset the general fund cost of the program.

“For us to be able to provide dual-enrollment opportunities from the safety of campus, with the support of Alpena Community College coming right to campus, and for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to help sustain this within our general fund is a major win-win to the academic success of our students postsecondary,” Collier said.

The school also received $21,500 that will go toward supporting the continuation of its one-to-one Chromebook program.

Collier said the school has been participating in the program for the past four years and there seems to be a benefit to providing students with laptop computers.

“As we continue to chart the metrics, we see increased SAT scores, we are seeing increased state academic progress in proficiency in our students,” Collier said. “The qualitative measures would be the fact that we have the opportunity to give our students 21st-century technology that is mobile, that is take-home, and we have the ability to mitigate the opportunity cost of being an impoverished student potentially by being able to have technology that is cutting-edge to mankind.”

Another project funded by the 2 percent distribution is the improvement of both the elementary library and individual classroom libraries.

Collier said the $12,700 initiative is meant to promote a balanced literacy approach to elementary students.

“This is a large funding for books that would be age-appropriate, and give students the ability to range within their reading level,” Collier said. “That’s a huge opportunity and a new thing as we continue to build individual classroom libraries.”

Alternative education curriculum at AGS was supported by a $12,000 grant.

Collier said the alternative education curriculum consists of online, virtual courses meant for nontraditional students or students looking to extend their curriculum.

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