When you're not yet 10, $8,453 is a lot of money. The elementary school students at Morris Jeff Community School in New Orleans' Mid-City neighborhood oohed and aahed Tuesday as State Superintendent of Education John White awarded that sum to each of 26 New Orleans "Top Gains" schools that made significant improvements in student performance last year, for a grand total of $219,800. And in Covington later that day, White gave $230,000 to the 27 Top Gains schools in St. Tammany.
In addition, White officially presented five New Orleans school consortia with nearly $1.5 million "Believe and Include" special education grant funding that was announced earlier this month.
Each school's Top Gains target was based on a combination of previous academic growth and the rate of change needed to reach a school performance score of 120 out of 200 by the year 2014, Department of Education spokesman Barry Landry said in an email message.