A three-year, $400,000 grant funded by Community Partners for Middle School Success is going toward the Hillyard Youth Collaborative, a program that will work to keep students at Shaw and Garry middle schools on track and ready for high school.
Eight local businesses and organizations – including Avista, Numerica Credit Union and the Women Helping Women Fund – each donated $50,000 toward the grant, which will be managed by Gonzaga University.
“The grant allowed us to put together a team of organizations that have all worked together in the past,” said John Traynor Jr., of the department of teacher education at GU. “We know each other and this alignment of resources will allow us to have a better impact on the kids we reach.”
Fred Schrumpf, director of school-community partnerships at Spokane Public Schools, said the grant is much needed.
“Shaw and Garry are the two middle schools with most low-income kids,” Schrumpf said, adding that both schools have a low performance on state-issued math and reading tests. He said difficulty in reading and math may indicate a higher likelihood of dropping out of school.
“We would like to help those students stay on track,” Schrumpf said.
Students from Garry and Shaw typically attend Rogers High School, Spokane Public Schools’ only Title I high school – meaning that 75 percent or more of students receive free or reduced lunches.
“We want to have middle school students who are more ready for high school by the time they get to Rogers,” Schrumpf said. “That will help further improve graduation rates at Rogers.”
He added that he hopes to reach 100 students who need the most help at each school beginning this fall.
Partners in the Hillyard Youth Collaborative are GU, Spokane Public Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Spokane County and Washington State University.
Once identified by the schools, youth in the program will receive tutoring by education students, help with computer and Internet access, and direction to other programs and resources that may help them succeed.
“We find that the bottom performers in reading and math often just need a little more time,” Schrumpf said. “This grant will help us better provide that time.”