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Moton wins teacher training grant

The elementary school will receive nearly $450,000 over three years to transform itself.

By ROBERT KING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 11, 2002


BROOKSVILLE -- Moton Elementary School has won a federal grant that will pump nearly $450,000 into the school over the next three years with the goal of training teachers and staffers to "work smarter, not harder."

The grant is part of the national Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration program, which is aimed at spreading the best practices in education -- as determined by research -- to schools throughout the country.

Moton will use its money to transform itself into a "Modern Red Schoolhouse," a program that seeks to draw on the upsides of the "little red schoolhouses of yesteryear."

That means creating a place in the community where there is a common purpose to train the next generation to assume its role as citizens, workers, parents and keepers of the culture.

As its guide, Moton will rely on the Modern Red Schoolhouse Institute, based in Nashville.

It already helps 70 schools from 30 states with everything from analyzing what has being taught in the classroom to how the school manages its money to how it reaches out to its community.

Principal Donnie Moen said Moton's staff is already working hard. But he hopes the grant, and the Modern Red Schoolhouse program, will help everyone at the school work more efficiently and more effectively.

"We've got the access to some of the best practices in the United States," said Moen.

As grants go, this one is a big one for a Hernando County school. District officials said a few grants to pay for technology have been as big. And several schools with high numbers of children from low income families receive larger annual Title 1 entitlement grants.

But schools in Hernando County don't see this type of extra cash come their way every day.

Moton will receive the grant money in three annual installments of about $150,000 each. Its grant proposal calls for $50,000 to go toward the salary of a teacher on special assignment who will, in essence, serve as in-house consultant on Modern Red Schoolhouse matters.

An additional $90,000 will cover the fees paid to the Modern Red Schoolhouse Institute, which will provide teachers and staff with training and conduct surveys of parents and staff to see where needs exist. Other money will cover equipment and travel needs.

Only one other Hernando County school, Chocachatti Elementary, has received a Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration grant. Chocachatti's three-year grant, for $50,000 a year, helped the school get its microsociety off the ground. As an unexpected bonus, Chocachatti later received a $90,000 supplemental grant.

-- Times staff writer Robert King covers education in Hernando County and can be reached at 754-6127. Send e-mail to rking@sptimes.com.

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