Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Education awarded $44 million in federal Unified School Improvement Grant (UniSIG) funds to support 149 struggling schools in 29 districts.
“It can be hard for struggling schools to recruit and retain top talent, and today I’m proud to announce $44 million to address this problem,” said DeSantis. “I have consistently said that the number one way to create great opportunities for our students is by ensuring they have great teachers. In Florida, we will continue to take a strategic, data-driven approach to make our schools the best in the country.”
“Frederick Douglass said it best when he said, ‘It is easier to build strong children than repair broken adults,’ and with these funds we ensure our students have world-class educators in front of them each and every day,” said state Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Our number one goal is to ensure each of Florida’s 2.9 million public school students receive a world-class education and are given the tools to succeed. These funds help accomplish that important work by incentivizing great educators with proven track records of success to come help our most vulnerable students in our most vulnerable schools succeed.”
The funds provided through UniSIG will be used to support school improvement initiatives in Florida’s lowest performing five percent of schools. Teachers who teach at these low performing schools and have earned highly effective or effective ratings can receive up to $15,000.
Principals may qualify for up to $45,000 for recruitment/retention and performance, and one assistant principal from the school may also qualify for $10,000 for recruitment/retention.
Each school will receive up to $100,000 to fund an Early Literacy Coach to support the 2021-2022 adoption of and professional development for the English Language Arts B.E.S.T. Standards.
Each school will receive up to $100,000 to fund a school-based Strategic Initiatives Coach to support the B.E.S.T. Standards adoption. These individuals will continuously review the submission of real-time progress monitoring data to guide instructional support and teacher practices.
Each school will receive up to $30,000 to fund supplemental teacher professional development and instructional materials to support the B.E.S.T. Standards adoption and implementation.