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New AmeriCorps Program to Put Volunteers in Low-Performing Schools

From guest blogger Christina A. Samuels:

Arne Duncan told participants at the Building a Grad Nation Summit today that a $15 million grant over three years will place AmeriCorps volunteers in persistently underachieving schools around the country.

AmeriCorps is managed by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, which in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education plans to place 650 volunteers each year in 60 rural and urban schools. CNCS will also raise private funds to contribute to this effort.

The grant will augment AmeriCorps work already ongoing in low-performing schools: currently, its volunteers work in a quarter of the 1,300 schools eligible for school improvement grants.

Public or private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and other community groups; schools or districts; institutions of higher education; cities and counties; Indian Tribes; and labor organizations are all eligible to apply, as are partnerships among the groups. They'll be expected to propose programs that can strengthen parent and family involvement in schools, improve school safety, accelerate student learning, and increase graduation and college enrollment rates.

Organizations applying for grants will be encouraged to focus on strategies that increase parent and family engagement and student learning time; improve school safety, attendance, and discipline; address students' social, emotional, and health needs; accelerate students' acquisition of reading and mathematics knowledge and skills; and increase graduation and college-enrollment rates. Applications are due April 2.

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