Thrilled. Giddy. Speechless.
Those were some of the words used by Superintendent Wendy Robinson to describe the reactions of district administrators after being notified Thursday that Fort Wayne Community Schools has been awarded at least $15.3 million from the U.S. Department of Education's Teacher Incentive Fund Grant.
Robinson described the grant award as actually being $42 million to be disbursed over five years, while explaining that the district will receive $15.3 million for use initially. The remainder would be subject to evaluation and contingent upon congressional approval.
The district will use the money to enhance professional training and support systems for educators and administrators in each of its buildings, Robinson said, not for more simple measures like basic pay increases. With the district having shown steady improvement over the past three years in metrics such as standardized testing, Robinson said she felt the district's educators have shown they are worth the investment in human capital.
"They believe that we have their best interests at heart," Robinson said. "All of the things that we've asked people to do have been rewarded. Now, we don't have to just tell people that we support them. We can do it."
A news release from the Department of Education said the funding was part of $290 million spread across 35 grants in 150 districts, with nearly 1,000 schools affected over 18 states and Washington, D.C.
FWCS used an independent contractor to write the grant proposal, Robinson said, while the Department of Education said the grant recipients were selected from a pool of over 120 applications.