The Pottstown School District and Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center are the recipients of state grants aimed at helping them resume operations during the coronavirus epidemic.
A CTC Equity Grant of $72,294 was awarded to Western Montgomery Career & Technology Center, while a Continuing of Education Equity Grant of $123,605 was awarded to Pottstown School District.
Based in Limerick, the career/tech center is among a number of career and technology centers across Pennsylvania to share approximately $10.5 million in CTC Equity grants aimed at supporting effective continuity of education programs and industry credential assessments for students negatively impacted by COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
The CTC grants, which were delivered via the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds via the federal CARES Act, were calculated based on the allocation for federal Perkins CTC grants, which take into account the population of students aged 5-17 and the percent of poverty within the same age group.
“I was excited to receive notification that the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center was awarded $72,000 through the grant,” Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center Administrative Director Chris Moritzen said. “These additional funds will greatly assist us as we move forward into the 2020 school year.”
“Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center has long provided students of our community the opportunity to learn and grow and become even better citizens,” said state Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-146th Dist., whose office announced the grant awards.
“So, I am thrilled this great institution will be on the receiving end of this critical help. The ability of our schools and education centers to adapt and provide safe, quality instruction is crucial to helping our entire commonwealth steer its way through this pandemic,” said Ciresi, who is a former Spring-Ford School Board member.
The CEEG grant for Pottstown School District is designed to help provide access and inclusion for all learners by bridging the gap for students who are currently limited in their ability to participate in continuity of education.
“Schools are the heart and soul of communities, and this grant for Pottstown School District will help ensure that students lacking equal access to resources are given the opportunity to learn with the help of technology otherwise not available to them,” Ciresi said.
The CEEG funding can be used to purchase computer equipment, such as laptops, tablets and internet hot spots, or it can be used toward providing instructional materials, such as paper lessons and coursework.
“Pottstown School District and the community are extremely grateful for all the support we’ve received to advance our students’ educational opportunities,” Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez said. “We plan to put this resource to good use for our students immediately.”
The funds can be used toward the safe reopening of schools, including the purchase of protective equipment, hand sanitizer and/or cleaning products; equipment or technology to take classrooms online; installation of barriers or other protective devices in building structures; or to purchase health apps to assist in contact tracing and monitoring of students.
The funds will be used to provide equipment for virtual instruction programming and safety supplies when we return to in person instruction, according to information provided by John Armato, the district's director of community relations.
"With these funds we will be able to purchase needed chromebook devices, hotspots and connectivity, licenses in software, along with adaptive hardware, additional cleaning and disinfecting equipment, will help create a safe environment when students and staff return to in person classes," Armato wrote in a statement.
"The financial burden on our community which has been created by COVID 19 pandemic increased demands on our schools will be eased by this grant and our students will be able to continue to build the educational the foundation for their future success," Armato wrote.
This article first appeared as a post in The Digital Notebook blog.