COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

PRINS. MEMO NO. 15

April 26, 2005

ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE/SECONDARY

TO:

Principals

 

FROM:

Linda M. Wallinger

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

United States Department of Education 2005 Smaller Learning Community Grants

 

On March 30, 2005, the United States Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) published in the Federal Register information about two competitions under the Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) program. The first is a special competition that will fund a national evaluation of supplemental reading programs in freshman academies. The second will award SLC grants using new requirements and selection criteria.

 

Enhanced Reading Opportunities (ERO), the national research evaluation of supplemental reading programs, is being co-administered by OVAE and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Through the special competition, OVAE will award 10-12 SLC grants to local educational agencies applying on behalf of large public high schools that are implementing freshman academies. Each school will be able to receive up to $1,250,000 per high school to support SLC activities, plus the implementation of a supplemental reading program in each school.

 

The second SLC competition will award grants to school divisions applying on behalf of large public high schools to create and expand SLC structures and strategies. While the research on school size to date has been largely non-experimental, some research suggests that smaller schools may have an advantage over larger schools. Research further suggests that the positive outcomes associated with smaller schools stem from the schools' ability to create close, personal environments in which teachers can work collaboratively, with each other and with a small set of students, to challenge students and support learning. The SLC program encourages school divisions to set higher academic expectations for all of their students and to implement reforms that will provide the effective instruction and personalized academic and social support students need to meet those expectations.

 

This year, the United States Department of Education is proposing to increase the amount of time schools can undertake SLC grant-funded activities - from three years up to five years - and to increase the maximum amount of funds available per grant - from $550,000 per high school to $1,175,000 per high school. School divisions can apply on behalf of eligible high schools that have not yet received an SLC grant or that received an SLC grant in 2000 and have now completed their SLC project.

 

The deadline for transmittal of applications is May 16, 2005. For updated information on both competitions, go to the SLC website at www.ed.gov/programs/slcp/applicant.html.

 

If you have further questions, please contact Tabitha Foreman (Tabitha.Foreman@doe.virginia.gov), specialist for high school initiatives, Office of Middle and High School Instruction, at (804) 786-1993.

 

JLD/JCF/ce