Specialized Secondary Programs grants were awarded to 16 high schools statewide out of 38 schools that applied. The four-year grants are used to develop new, advanced curricula, teaching and learning practices using new technology, and are sometimes career-oriented, according to the superintendent's office.
"These grants will help high schools develop exciting new and advanced programs focused on such topics as geospatial technology, nanotechnology, bioinformatics, biotechnology, geothermal, solar, or wind energy," Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said in a prepared statement. "These are exactly the type of cutting-edge curricula we need to prepare students for more challenging careers whether they go straight into jobs after high school or continue their education in college."
Albany High School's CONNECT Program in Albany and Piner High School's Geospatial Technologies Pathway in Santa Rosa will each receive $100,000 in implementation grants, as the schools completed planning before applying for funding, according to education program consultant for the state Department of Education Barbara Weiss.
Gilroy High School's Biotechnology Academy and Mount Diablo High School's Humanities and Fine Arts Academy will each receive $35,000 for planning grants, Weiss said.
Schools receive varied funding depending on which phase their programs are in, according to Weiss.
Grants were also given to 43 other high schools statewide to continue programs already started in arts, media and entertainment, biomanufacturing, medical science, engineering, environmental studies and foreign language, officials said.
High schools in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties are among the schools sharing $3.68 million for continued programs implementation.
"While we were able to provide grants for this year, the current state budget crisis may result in severe cutbacks next year for new grants or reduced funding of implementing existing advanced programs. That would mean all the work schools did to build up these programs could be wasted or lost at a time when we need them the most," O'Connell said in a prepared statement.
Additional information about the grants is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/hs/sspgen.asp.