$50 million grant to help improve Fort Wayne schools

(WANE Photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Community Schools is getting a big boost through a federal grant.

“We don’t just have money readily available, so that’s where this kind of grant really helps,” Krista Stockman with FWCS said.

A $50 million U.S. Department of Education Teacher and School Leadership Incentive Program Grant will be spread over a five year period.

A big part of the grant will go toward staff development, including ongoing training and conferences outside of the classroom, as well as making sure the curriculum is what it needs to be for students to have the most success. It will also help with efforts involving the district’s STEM and STEAM initiatives. All of that falls under a new initiative the school calls ‘PEER.’

“We want them to really understand, ‘okay what is the curriculum, how do you effectively teach that?’”

Right now the district has around 1,800 to 1,900 teachers. There are nearly 40 openings, and some classrooms still don’t have full-time, permanent teachers. Stockman hopes these development sessions could help that.

“If we have a strong environment for teachers and we are providing support, we are providing training, it’s a great place to work, then we’ll be able to attract those candidates,” Stockman said.

Stockman added they wouldn’t be able to do all of this without the grant money, and they’re already getting some of it, quickly getting the ball rolling.

“Our goal is always to make sure that we have the best people in front of kids so that they can be learning every day, and this certainly helps us in doing that,” Stockman said.

Later this month, Superintendent Wendy Robinson will give a presentation with even more specifics of where the money is going and why.