Grant is Key in College Track Adaptive Strategy for Federal No Child Left Behind Policy

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation today announced it has been awarded a highly competitive $30,000 grant by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation that will supportMH_Art art and science enrichment programs at Branciforte Middle School and Mission Hill Middle School.

The exclusive focus of the federal No Child Left Behind policy on English and math leads to resource shortages for enrichment and after school offerings, especially impacting at-risk middle school students.  Enrichment courses not only keep students engaged and interested in school, they’re essential for accessing college prep courses in high school.  The Packard grant helps prevent high school-level remediation and preserves a focus on college.

“Packard grants have never been more competitive,” said Suz Howells, Santa Cruz Education Foundation President.  “We’re thrilled with the news and excited about partnering with our middle schools to put these funds into action, beginning with the Spring 2010 after school academy session. Inspiration for this grant came from the SCCS Academic Excellence Task Force. Common sense and good practice suggest middle school students need a broad and enriching school experience to energize their minds and fuel their commitment to school.  This grant not only helps with that, it supports our most vulnerable students, providing pieces of the foundation required to access the college prep track.”

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“The Branciforte Middle School community is sincerely grateful to the Santa Cruz Education Foundation for their work to win this grant,” said Kris Munro, Branciforte Middle School Principal. “Thanks to this support our students will have access to classes in the visual, performing and applied arts, and we will be able to expand with science-based enrichment classes.”

“The impact of financial support such as this is tremendous,” said Mission Hill Middle School Principal Valerie Quandt.  “This grant will help our students stay on an academic track and be prepared for high school and beyond.  Our goal is to improve student interest and connection to school curriculum and keeping them on the college preparatory track.”

MH-woodshopPackard funding will help expand after school offerings to include more arts and sciences and protect current offerings, such as:

Branciforte— Web Design, Cooking, Baile Folklorico, Ceramics, Rock Band, Hip Hop, Homework Club, Bike Club and Garage Band.

Mission Hill—Keyboarding, Acoustic Guitar, Cartoons & Comic Book Art, Be-In-Your-Own-Band, Theater, Aikido, Bicycle Maintenance, Knitting, Creative Writing, Newspaper, Woodshop, French, Illustration and Painting.