District Awarded $9 Million Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant

District Awarded $9 Million Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant
Posted on 05/05/2021
District Awarded $9 Million Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant

The School District of Lee County is excited to announce it has been awarded a Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The $9,048,677 grant is one of only nine MSAP grants nationwide for 2021.

“I am proud the School District has once again been awarded one of these very competitive grants to support our schools and our students,” says Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins. “We now have the opportunity to add even more academically challenging programming to our schools that will attract students and help them reach their highest personal potential.”

The MSAP grant will be used to fund the Increasing Diversity and Achievement through Rigorous and Engaging (I-DARE) Programs Phase II Project. It will support new programs at South Fort Myers High School and James Stephens International Academy.

South Fort Myers High School will implement a Cambridge and Career Academy magnet program to prepare its 1,900 students for future college and career opportunities. Students may choose the Cambridge/AICE program that provides college preparation and college level coursework. Or students may choose among four career academies: Automotive & Construction, Health & Safety, Technology, and the new academy, Hospitality & Tourism where they earn industry certifications. Local business partners will provide students with internships in order to receive real world, on-the-job training.

“South Fort Myers High School is honored to be selected for the MSAP Grant,” says Principal Ed Mathews. “The money from this grant will allow the Wolfpack to have the ability to build a premiere destination for student achievement. Our students and staff have been blessed with an incredible opportunity from the USDOE.”

James Stephens International Academy will adopt a STEM magnet program to provide a hands-on, engaging science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum to its 480 students. James Stephens will integrate STEM into all disciplines: social studies, science, English/Language Arts, mathematics and special areas such as media, art, music and physical education to create a whole school magnet approach. The school will partner with key science and engineering organizations and businesses to strengthen its infrastructure supporting STEM.

“James Stephens International Academy is overwhelmed with excitement to receive the MSAP grant from the USDOE,” says Principal Kelly Stedman. “This grant will fund programs that inspire and encourage Pre-K through 5th grade students to pursue their interest and curiosity in STEM. We hope this unique opportunity will help students become forward thinking in their academic interests and ultimately partner with other STEM oriented Middle and High Schools building a pathway to accomplish their long-term goals.”

The goal of the I-DARE project is to create high performing diverse students within each magnet school and allow these programs to thrive after the project period ends. Phase I of the I-DARE program began in 2017 when the District was awarded a $10 million MSAP grant. The funding created a Cambridge/AICE program at Harns Marsh Middle School, STEAM curriculum at Lehigh Acres Middle School and enhanced academics at Oak Hammock Middle School through arts integration. Phase II at South Fort Myers High School and James Stephens International Academy is to build on that success.

“The magnet grant is a big win for our district and for these schools,” says Magnet Grant Program Director Dr. Terri Kinsey. “It provides a unique opportunity to attract diverse students through interactive and enriching education programs.”

The Magnet Schools Assistance program provides grants to eligible local educational agencies to establish and operate magnet schools that are operated under a court-ordered or federally approved voluntary desegregation plan. These grants assist in the desegregation of public schools by supporting the elimination, reduction, and prevention of minority group isolation in elementary and secondary schools with substantial numbers of minority group students.