Douglass High School receives $1.5M to improve programs

Dec 30, 2013

Credit / kbia

Federal education funds are going toward an enhanced immersion program and community partnerships to help some of Columbia’s most educationally at-risk students.

Frederick Douglass High School is among 14 schools across the state receiving funding from the federal School Improvement Grants program. The award includes $1.5 million to Douglass High School for use over three years.

Douglass principal Eryca Neville says the funding will be used to enhance instruction and materials in core subjects, to strengthen the school’s English Language Learners, or ELL program, and its partnerships with community collaborators. 

“Douglass’s specialized purpose within Columbia Public Schools is to go back and work with those that are most educationally at risk, for not completing high school,” she says. “So, we looked at those populations when we are thinking of places that we could expand in doing a better job of working with students.”

The grant provides funding for a Community Internship Supervisor at Douglass to coordinate community internships and partnerships with the school, and this summer will see the first implementation of a new immersion program for students identified most at risk. She says the grant will help structure and build on community partnerships.

“I think when you look at a lot of programs that are working with students that are fragile like ours, they become too personality dependent,” she says. “What we really want is an infrastructure that will stand regardless of which personalities are put in place.”

Fourteen Missouri schools are sharing the $7.5 million in federal funds aimed at struggling schools. That includes funding to eight schools in St. Louis, four in St. Louis County's Riverview Gardens School District, and Martin Luther King Elementary in Kansas City.