Seymour Community Schools receives $1.3 million in federal grants


Seymour Community School Corp. has received nearly $1.3 million in state and federal grants this year to provide services for at-risk and non-English-speaking students and to improve school safety.

The biggest grant is $661,321.20 in Title I funding for programs and staff for at-risk students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Seymour-Jackson, Seymour-Redding and Margaret R. Brown elementary schools.

The grant provides financial assistance to schools with high numbers or high percentages of students from low-income families to help ensure all children meet challenging state academic standards, said Diane Altemeyer, director of federal and state programs for the corporation.

Title I grant monies pay the salaries of three instructional coaches and 21 instructional assistants at Jackson, Redding and Brown, along with funding parent involvement programs, general supplies and administrative costs.

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Of the total grant allocation, $52,026.08 must be shared with non-public schools in the district.

Besides benefiting at-risk students, a large portion of grant funding the district received will be used to provide staff, curriculum and resource materials for English learners and professional development for EL teachers.

The district was allocated a $406,608 Non English Speaking Grant, which was nearly double the amount it received last year, Altemeyer said.

Those funds will be used to pay the salaries of five EL teachers, professional development, instructional materials, software and administrative expenses.

Seymour also received $125,080 in Title III funding to help ensure students attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic achievement in English and meet the same academic content and state standards as all students.

Title III funding is used to pay for professional development related to EL instruction, curriculum and family engagement.

This year, 14 Seymour Community Schools teachers are working to attain their EL teaching licensure.

The amount the corporation receives in EL grants is based on enrollment, Altemeyer said.

Seymour Community Schools currently serves 1,300 English learners who speak a total of 26 different languages. 

"SCSC is proud of the diversity in our schools," Altemeyer said.

Only those students who score a level 1-4 on the state language proficiency assessment help generate Title III funds.

Many Seymour Community Schools students speak one or more languages other than English but are not considered English learners because they have already reached proficiency in English, Altemeyer said.

Of the total Title III grant, $6,732 must be shared with non-public schools in the district.

Changes to how school systems can use funding from the state Secured School Safety Grant doubled Seymour’s allocation from $50,000 to $100,000 this year. The corporation also receives a federal School Save Haven grant.

"By changing our grant proposals and what we fund through the safety grants, we were able to obtain $102,689 more in security grant money that previous years," Altemeyer said.

To access the safety grants, the district must provide a 100% match, which will come from the corporation’s operations fund. The money will be used to help pay the salaries of its four school resource officers, Altemeyer said.

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