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PHOENIX — Following a roundtable discussion today with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, school leaders, parents, and students, Governor Doug Ducey today announced an additional $500,000 to continue expanding efforts across the state to increase high-quality education options.
The funding, which comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, will be distributed by A for Arizona through its Expansion and Innovation Fund. The dollars will support the creation of effective small learning models and community partnerships that target students and families in need. In June, A for Arizona received $1 million to issue microgrants to support innovative programs to continue educating Arizona students.
“Throughout Arizona, school leaders are turning to innovative approaches to meet the needs of families and keep students engaged and learning,” said Governor Ducey. “A for Arizona’s Expansion and Innovation Fund is at the forefront of identifying and supporting education models that have proven results for working families. The small learning community grants will help foster additional community partnerships to create student-centric, personalized learning options for high-need students.”
“At A for Arizona, we are committed to providing quality learning options for every student in the state regardless of where they live,” said A for Arizona Founder and CEO Emily Anne Gullickson. “For far too long, the status quo has not served Arizona students and it is time to support new models that can better ensure students and families thrive. The need is particularly acute now and these dollars can help education innovators act quickly to meet increasing parent demand. In keeping with our mission of replicating what works for students and leverages our best educators, we are thrilled to give our communities the opportunity to create, scale, and deliver these small learning community models to their families.”
The demand for small learning communities has increased recently as parents are shifting toward individual and personalized learning models and smaller learning environments. District, charter, magnet, and private schools, as well as community not-for-profits, have implemented small learning communities, including pods, micro-schools, learning hubs, and other small school concepts. This investment will support expanding access to these options to students most in need across the state. Additionally, A for Arizona is partnering with Love Your School, an organization fostering more education choices for families, to build awareness about small learning community models and educate parents about local options.