Assabet receives $110,000 grant for pilot program



Marlborough – Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School (AVRTHS), which teamed with Virtual High School(VHS), was one of 34 schools to receive a competitive technology grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the funds being awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act .

The school will receive the grant, in the amount of $110,672, for a credit recovery pilot program in biology.

“We looked at our most atrisk group, and that would be a group of freshmen and sophomore students who are in danger of failing the biology MCAS test,” said Robert McCann III, director of Curriculum and Assessment at AVRTHS. “After the first marking term, if the student appears to be struggling, we can target a limited number of students for enrollment in an online course with work to be done at home.”

“There are a specific number of hours required away from the regular face-to-face class time,” McCann said “There are projects, reports, and discussions online. This grant gives us quite an opportunity to reach a targeted number of students before they fail, and hopefully prevent that from happening.”

Included in the grant will be staff training for two biology teachers and a group of five teachers who will teach English, mathematics, science and social studies using a blended teaching approach. Five staff members will take Web 2.0 training assisting them to put more Internet technology in their specific classes. Two biology teachers will work with VHS specialists to develop curriculum and ultimately teach the biology A and biology B online courses.

“We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to develop this pilot program and provide our students with access to innovative programs.” Dr. Charla Boles, AVRTHS’s Special Needs coordinator, said.

Boles authored the grant with McCann.

“The fact that our MCAS scores are right up there with most comprehensive high schools, in spite of the fact that our students sit in actual academic classrooms only half the time, speaks well for our delivery here,” Boles said. “However, we recognize that students have a variety of learning styles and some require additional instruction. This grant enables us to develop programs to address student needs.”