$1.5M Federal Grant for Middle Schools

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the Long Beach Unified School District a $1.5 million, three-year Skills for Success grant this week to help students develop traits and skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving as they explore colleges and potential careers, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math.

In partnership with the national nonprofit Jobs for the Future and SRI International, a leading research firm, the school district will develop, demonstrate and evaluate tools and strategies to enhance middle school students' “non-cognitive skills” with a college and career focused exploration class. Non-cognitive skills also include individual traits and skills such as persistence, creativity and self control.

Students will explore a variety of careers through project-based learning and visits to local colleges and businesses. Students also will record and reflect through creation of a career portfolio. The school district will develop measurement tools to gauge skill development and provide rubrics that teachers may use.