State awards $1.63 million through a grant to help a struggling school

Funding granted from the Maine Department of Education will help transform the Auburn school by increasing student achievement, teacher effectiveness and engaging parent and community support.

AUBURN – Washburn Elementary School in Auburn will use just over $1.63 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding awarded by the Maine Department of Education to focus on raising student proficiency in math by 30 percent and reading by 35 percent over the next five years.

Washburn was one of 20 schools eligible to apply for state support through the federally funded School Improvement Grant (SIG) program because it has continued to be among Maine’s most struggling. The school, which serves 238 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, is one of 13 schools across the state that has received funding from the Department since 2010 for intensive school turnaround work.

Much of the funding awarded by the Maine DOE will be used to enhance educator effectiveness and instruction at Washburn, as well as provide a new Pre-K program for students. Under the leadership of a new principal, the school will hire two Instructional Coaches, three Ed Techs, a Pre-K Instructor, a Parent Liaison and a part-time Grant Coordinator. In addition, Washburn plans to provide upward of two additional days of structured staff time to review student data to inform interventions and instruction.

Eighty percent of families in the school community are now living below the federal poverty line and 82 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, making Washburn the most economically disadvantaged of Auburn’s eight schools. In addition, the school suffers from high teacher turnover rates and low student achievement. Washburn also received an “F” on its State report card last year and has struggled to meet student proficiency standards since 2011. Just 43 percent of its students are proficient in math and 52 percent in reading, well below the State average.

Ensuring that students and families within the community have the resources they need to be ready to learn and succeed is also paramount to the school’s improvement plan. Washburn continues to develop partnerships with Good Shepherd Food Bank, Community Credit Union, Spurwink and Auburn Adult & Community Education (ACCE) to support parents and connect them with local community resources.

For more information about the School Improvement Grant program or Maine DOE’s school improvement efforts, visit www.maine.gov/doe/sig/ or contact the Department’s Federal Grant Coordinator Travis Doughty at (207) 624-6709 or travis.w.doughty@maine.gov, or Director of Communications Anne Gabbianelli at anne.gabbianelli@maine.gov.

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