By Steev Riccardo
WEBSTER – Webster Superintendent of Schools Barbara Malkas announced this past week that the district has received part of a two million dollar grant from the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative (MMSI).
MMSI is a national program that was endorsed by Massachusetts 5 years ago with the intent to increase student participation in Advanced Placement level courses. The monies that will come through this grant will support students taking multiple advance placement courses assisting in their payments for exams while also providing a lot of academic support for students taking more advance courses.
“The most important piece for me is that it will provide us funding to support teacher professional development, not just at the “AP” level but in what they refer to as the pre AP level which begins in fifth grade,” said Malkas.
Webster schools will be able to have pre AP pipelines in Math, Science, and English language arts which will create opportunities for the schools to create some vigorous programs not just at the very end of their high school careers but at pre AP level. More students will in turn become academically prepared to take AP courses earlier in their high school career.
‘Dr. Andrew Kelly (Director of Curriculum) had put in a grant application for the last cohort (last year) but Webster Schools was not funded,” said Malkas. “I was familiar with this program and when I was announced as Superintendent in Webster, their (MMSI) Executive Director Mark Alloff said congratulations on your new position, are you interested in pursuing MMSI and I said absolutely”.
Malkas said that Kelly wrote the grant in lieu of the fact that Webster Public Schools do not have a grant writer on staff. “People that work here have really stepped up in the absence of someone that writes grants for a living. We have people that already have full time jobs taking on this additional responsibility and that says something about the people that work for Webster Public Schools”.
The Webster Schools will start using the MMSI grant monies in the next school year.