October 1, 2015

Lawrence-Lawson Elementary receives $25,000 Spotlight Schools grant

Lawrence-Lawson Elementary School was among 10 schools across the state that received $25,000 grants to showcase successful practices that improve student achievement.

The 2015-16 Wisconsin Spotlight Schools are:

  • Lawrence-Lawson Elementary School, Sparta Area School District;
  • Academy of Accelerated Learning, Milwaukee Public Schools;
  • Bruce Middle School, Bruce School District;
  • Converse Elementary School, Beloit School District;
  • Grant Elementary School, Sheboygan Area School District;
  • Howe Elementary School, Wisconsin Rapids School District;
  • Lawrence-Lawson Elementary School, Sparta Area School District;
  • Longfellow Elementary School, Eau Claire Area School District;
  • Mercer School, Mercer School District;
  • Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton Elementary School, Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District; and
  • Tiffany Creek Elementary School, Boyceville Community School District.

“These schools all have a record of increasing academic performance for students from low-income families,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Opening their doors to other schools, becoming a school for schools so to speak, will advance our efforts to close achievement gaps and ensure every child graduates college and career ready.”

“I am very proud of the work that is being done at Lawrence-Lawson Elementary and in all of our schools. Their efforts truly reflect our ‘Good people, great schools’ theme,” Superintendent John Hendricks said. “We are happy and honored to be able to share our practices with other schools in Wisconsin through the Spotlight Schools grant.”

“We are honored at Lawrence-Lawson to have received the Spotlight grant for the third consecutive year. Our students and staff benefit in many ways. Having the opportunity to share our best practices and building connections with school districts throughout the state is a powerful approach to reciprocating learning in a collaborative way. The professional development staff participates in allows for new learning,” Principal Melissa Herek said.

Each of the 10 schools was a previous Title I Spotlight School. They received the 2015-16 grant for success in the area of teaching and learning as well as one of the other five areas of effective schools practices: decision making and accountability; family, school and community partnerships; leadership and governance; professional development and teacher quality; or vision, values, culture and climate. Schools receiving grants are eligible for Title I funding, a federal grant program designed to give educational assistance to students living in areas of high poverty.

Grants cover expenses related to travel, substitute teachers, and materials to share effective practices with three visiting school teams during the 2015-16 school year. Additional grant funds are used to support continuous school improvement in the Spotlight School.

Jenny Banse and Holly Larson, Spotlight Grant Co-Coordinators at Lawrence-Lawson, highlight that the grant funding has offset the costs for instructors to allow 20 staff in the district the opportunity to receive their 316 Reading Teacher certification at a reduced rate as well as provide numerous professional development opportunities. Lawrence-Lawson staff were also able to collaborate with schools throughout Wisconsin and learn best practices. Funding was provided to offer parents of Lawrence-Lawson students learning opportunities.

The Department of Public Instruction has awarded Spotlight School grants to 33 schools since the program began in the 2011-12 school year. Those schools have hosted more than 1,050 visitors from 174 Wisconsin schools. Due to reductions in federal funds that support recognition programs for high performing schools, 2015-16 is anticipated to be the last year of the grant.