LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School board recently voted to accept the i3 Innovation grant, should the district be the recipient of the federal dollars next month.
The i3 Innovation grant is quiet similar to the 9th Grade Initiative program that has been quite successful in the five out of six high schools the last six years.
The grant would provide Calcasieu Parish with $4 million to provide supplies, materials, and training for teachers to enhance educational opportunities for 9th grade students.
The board first considered the i3 Innovation grant in March 2010, when state budget constraints dried up the funding for the 9th Grade Initiative.
"Calcasieu Parish is very fortunate to get state grant money to initiate this program, and we needed a way to keep it going," said Patrick Deaville, Director of High School Curriculum for Calcasieu Parish.
Deaville is confident the new grant will provide the dollars the parish needs to boost graduation rates.
"We're hoping it will decrease drop out rates in Calcasieu Parish," said Deaville. "But more importantly, we're hoping it will assist us in having students graduate from high school with a diploma on time."
Act 257 in the Louisiana Legislature requires every high school to have an 80% graduation rate.
Washington Marion High School in Calcasieu Parish currently has a performance rate of 74.2%.
CPSB has chosen this high school to be the testing ground for the grant, as they hope it will boost their graduation rates to at least 80%.
But if Calcasieu Parish is awarded the grant, Deaville said the dollars will go further than Washington Marion High School.
"In future years, we will be able to add on schools despite the fact that their school performance score may be higher," said Deaville.
Calcasieu Parish will find out if they were chosen for the grant sometime in July.
For more information on the i3 Innovation grant, click on the link to the right.