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Executive Kittleman announces grant program to expand Achieve 24/7 initiative

Executive Kittleman announces grant program to expand Achieve 24/7 initiative

November 2, 2018

Media Contacts:
Deidre McCabe, Director of Strategic Planning and Communications, 410-313-4023 
Kim Eisenreich, Administrator, Office of the Local Children’s Board, 410-313-1461

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced the expansion of his Achieve 24/7 initiative, building on the success of a pilot program held at Oakland Mills Middle School. Under the Achieve 24/7 program, the county’s Department of Community Resources and Services (DCRS) will offer small grants to county schools focused on closing the “opportunity gap.” 

“We started Achieve 24/7 as a way to narrow the achievement gap and provide additional resources so all children and youth in Howard County can succeed,” said Kittleman. “We were excited by the results of our pilot program last summer at Oakland Mills Middle School, providing math instruction and enrichment activities. Most of the children involved advanced a level in math when they returned to school this fall.”

“The partnership between Howard County Government, Oakland Mills Middle and HCPSS allowed us to identify an opportunity gap for students and build a creative, unprecedented and effective program to eliminate it,” said Megan Chrobak, Principal of Oakland Mills Middle. “The Achieve 24/7 investment in our school altered the educational trajectory for a large group of students and opened up higher level math options that were previously inaccessible to them. We could not be more grateful or proud of this collaboration.”  

This success prompted DCRS, working through its Office of the Local Children’s Board and the Achieve 24/7 initiative, to offer small grants to any public school in the county with the goal of advancing racial equity, improving mental health, providing opportunities and closing the achievement gap.

“The goal of these grants is to improve equitable access and opportunity, while expanding the reach of the Achieve 24/7 initiative,” said Kim Eisenreich, Administrator of the Local Children’s Board, which will administer the grants. “These goals cannot be accomplished without close involvement and partnership with each community. Every student, family and neighborhood is different and has unique assets and needs. Our approach is to work with individual communities to determine what sorts of programs and solutions will work best for them.”

The Office of the Local Children’s Board has offered the grants to all Howard County public school principals. Proposals will be assessed using a “rolling application process” with a final submission deadline of March 29, 2019. Applications will be reviewed as they are received; funds are limited, so earlier applications have a better chance of being approved. Eisenreich expects most grant awards will be between $1,000 and $10,000, depending on the nature and scope of the project.

Proposals that address one or more of the priority areas (racial equity, mental health, closing the opportunity/achievement gap) will be given preference in the selection process. Applicants must provide letters of interest including: demonstrated need; overview of project; description of target population to be served; list of measurable outcomes; and budget and cost justification.

All proposals will be evaluated based on the number of students or families served, the project’s alignment with priority areas, total cost to complete, and level of collaboration with the community. 

“We encourage proposals to include collaboration among schools,” said Jackie Scott, DCRS Director. “We also encourage unique and creative approaches – we’re confident that individual school communities have lots of ideas about how best to help their students.” 

Under Achieve 24/7's umbrella, the county launched its first program – "Weekend Warrior SnackPacks" – in June 2017 in conjunction with the summer lunch program run by the Howard County Public School System. The program, which was expanded from two to four school sites last summer, provides backpacks of healthy foods for the weekend, available to anyone under 18 participating in the free lunch program.

In September 2017, Kittleman launched a school readiness program for children from birth to age five, offering free videos through the “Ready Rosie” program to county families. Parents and guardians can sign up to receive short videos by text message or email, demonstrating simple activities to do with children to increase school readiness. 

The “Building Youth Resiliency” program provides rapid access to mental health services and the “Choice Jobs Program” provides resources to assist with job readiness and employment opportunities.

Achieve 24/7 programs and projects focus on improving outcomes in early childhood education, child mental health, summer food access, support for children at risk and other critical areas. Research has repeatedly shown that early intervention and prevention strategies positively impact school readiness, attendance, classroom engagement and academic success.

Submissions and questions about the small grants program should be directed to Quinton Askew at qaskew@howardcountymd.gov or by calling 410-313-0221.

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