From Superintendent Dave Bennardo

Hi All:

Yesterday afternoon we got word from the NYS Education Department that we had received a $750,000 grant for "Strengthening Teacher Leadership Effectiveness Part Two.”  Fortunately this grant will help us to build on the work that continues to be done with "Strengthening Teacher Leadership Effectiveness Part One,” which is due to expire.

The NYS Education Department is quite specific that these STLE funds are to be used for things such as mentoring, teacher training, instructional strategies, reading software, etc. The grant proposal and the programs must conform to the specifications, or we do not receive a single dime from the state. We are one of five districts on Long Island that met the demographic specifications and figured out how to use these funds in a way that complied with the New York State requirements. That being said, there are certain areas in this grant, such as money for substitute-teacher coverage, that do take pressure off some other budget lines.  That, in turn, has allowed for money to be diverted back into instructional areas, which is one of the techniques we used to reduce class sizes from last year to this year.

It is important to understand that grants are designed for the targeted purposes of the provider.  Grants do not provide us with funds to be applied in a matter of our choosing.  Instead, we must look for creative ways of utilizing grants to enhance instruction, increase opportunities, and eliminate some pressures on our existing budget.  Our team of teachers and administrators will continue to seek grants on the local, state, and federal level in order to bring competitive resources to the schools.  The scope of our grant writing is certainly not limited, and we will pursue any and all funding opportunities that might help our district.  We hope to be able to share more good news in the future.

Be well,
Dave Bennardo