Champaign school district gets $9.6M federal grant for magnet programs

Champaign school district gets $9.6M federal grant for magnet programs

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school district has been awarded a $9.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The five-year Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant will provide money for the implementation of magnet themes at three Champaign schools:

— Franklin Middle School, for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

— Garden Hills Elementary School, for math and science.

— Stratton Elementary School, for fine arts.

Unit 4 spokeswoman Emily Schmit said the magnet programs at the three schools are designed to provide students with innovative instructional opportunities that will propel them to succeed in their educational careers and in the workplace.

She said Unit 4 is one of 32 school districts in the United States to receive the award.

"This is a pivotal moment for our district and for public education in our community," Superintendent Susan Zola said. "With this funding, we will have the opportunity to build capacity within the magnet schools and across the district to offer rigorous programs that promote choice and student success."

According to Schmit, Unit 4 administrators, principals and teachers worked together over four months to identify themes and develop program designs as part of the grant application process.

"From a district level, Laurie Scott, grant writer for Champaign Unit 4 school district, did a tremendous job," Schmit said. "Without her efforts and dedication, the grant would not have been possible.

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