Lorain City Schools is no stranger to negative headlines. As one of three districts currently under the control of an(ADC), it has been a hotbed for .
Fortunately for the students in the district, this autumn seems to be bringing a nice change of pace. First, what you’ve probably heard about: September’s state report card release revealed that Lorain(up from an ), raised its Gap Closing grade , and its performance index scores.
But here’s what you probably don’t know: Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Educationthat the district, along with several other industry and education partners, won a federal grant to modernize workforce training.
To understand the importance of this grant, some background is necessary. Last summer, President Trump signed theinto law. The legislation, referred to as Perkins V, is the long-awaited reauthorization of the federal law that governs how states fund and oversee career and technical education (CTE) programs. Tucked into the pages of the new law are provisions creating the Innovation and Modernization Grant, a competitive program aimed at creating, implementing, replicating, and taking to scale “evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to modernize and improve” CTE, with the goal of improving student outcomes.
The U.S. Department of Educationthat $2 million dollars would be available for the program. To be considered for the grant, applicants had to propose a plan that would modernize CTE, develop the effectiveness and alignment of CTE with labor market needs, and improve student outcomes. The law also identified several : promoting STEM and computer science education, serving students from low-income families, and serving students in qualified .
Earlier this month, the departmentout of sixty-four nationwide applicants. Among the victors was an application from Lorain County Community College, which partnered with—you guessed it—Lorain City Schools to win a three-year grant worth just under half a million dollars. Lorain City Schools is one of nearly a dozen partners, including:
- Lorain County Council
- Lorain County Community College’s Early College High School
- Lorain County Joint Vocational School
- Elyria City Schools
- Keystone Local Schools
- Midview Schools
- North Ridgeville Schools
There isn’t a ton of information available about the specific project itself, but thethat is available seems promising. The project aims to “engage and support” students in computer science CTE pathways that lead to applied associate’s degrees in computer science and result in employment in in-demand fields. Working together, the partners will work to achieve five goals:
- Implement dual enrollment pathways in all partnering schools
- Support students to meet minimum math assessments standards for postsecondary program admittance
- Expand earn-and-learn opportunities in targeted computer science pathways
- Expand the STEM Success student support services program to include students in computer science pathways
- Recruit and credential more teachers in computer science
If accomplished, each of these goals could be a boon for the students in Lorain City Schools and other partnering districts. Supporting students to meet postsecondary admittance standards, for example, ensures that students will avoidwhen they get to college. Earn-and-learn opportunities have become increasingly popular both and in , and for good reason—they offer students meaningful opportunities to develop academic and career skills. It’s also important that the project will focus on computer science. According to , a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, , and average salaries for computing occupations in Ohio are significantly higher than the average salary in the state.
As with all new projects, the devil will be in the details. Rigorous implementation and a focus on meaningful outcomes for students should be priority. But kudos to the folks in Lorain County for taking the initiative to create a project that could have such a significant impact on the students in several districts—including Lorain City Schools.