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Columbus City Schools Receives $1.25 Million Grant To Boost Achievement

Columbus City Schools says it has won a national grant to boost student achievement at schools on the west and northeast sides.

District and community leaders announced the $1.25 million grant from the National Education Association.

Columbus is one of three districts in the nation to win the money.

Superintendent Gene Harris says the grant will be used to reverse student achievement gaps at Linden McKinley and Briggs high schools and eleven other middle and elementary schools that show high poverty rates and lagging student achievement.

"One of the elements of it is it will actually allow our teachers to do home visits and really help parents understand the critical role that they play in learning for their children," Harris says.

Harris says the grant money will also hasten a move toward what educators call "project-based" learning. Harris says students at the Linden STEM academy at Cleveland and Westerville Road provided an example as she arrived for the news conference announcing the grant.

"My guys were telling me about their math and their science learning and the robots that they are getting ready to build and the different math competitions that they're involved in," Harris says. "They're very excited about that."

Linden STEM Academy principal Janet Hinds says some of the new money will also be spent on research to determine how children best learn; whether through auditory, visual, or tactile means. She says that boosting student achievement in the classroom is critical to their personal success after high school graduation.

"We also know where the jobs are going to be for the future." Hinds says. "And we know that they're going to be in science; we know that they will be in technology. Well look at our kids. They are just so geared to texting and using the computer and tweeting and twittering and all these other kinds of things and that's the wave of the future. So we have to make sure that our students can function in that new global society."

A consulting firm will evaluate the district's use of the grant money.