Staples, Minn.,
07:00 AM

Local Education Leaders Recommend Projects for $1.5 million in NJPA Innovation Funding

STAPLES, Minn. (18 May 2016) - Local education leaders discussed and voted on innovative projects, recommending over $1.5 million in Innovation Funding to directly benefit Region 5 school districts.

The 2016 Innovation Funding Review day took place on May 12, providing an opportunity for nearly a dozen local schools and education partners to present their projects. Members heard project proposals, discussed, and then recommended projects that had the most potential for student impact and success. School districts created the ideas and National Joint Power Alliance (NJPA) provides support and funding. The formula for the program promotes out-of-the-box collaboration on projects that might otherwise not get off the ground. The NJPA Board of Directors gives final approval of the funding at its June meeting.

2016 Recommended Projects:

  • Bridges Career Academy and Workplace Connection provides a career link between secondary and post-secondary institutions, and businesses from local communities in an effort to ensure the next generation of students is career and college ready for the workforce. Long-term goals for the group include expanding the number of Region Five schools using the program from 17 to 22, providing new resources for schools, and developing internship and educator in the workplace opportunities. The program requested $230,000 in Innovation Funding from NJPA.
  • Minnesota School-Based Occupational and Physical Therapists are initiating the First Annual Institute offered to every school district in the state of Minnesota. The local Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative is providing staff as presenters for the event. The goal of the project is to improve skills for implementing alternative service delivery models, promote evidence-based services, and improve understanding of related services in Minnesota schools. Educators asked for $22,500 to support the event.
  • The Metier Program helps students build 21st century character traits (grit, attitude, optimism, and creativity) and skills (creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking). Three local school districts are collaborating to use the program, including: Little Falls, Bertha-Hewitt, and Pillager Middle Schools. The districts requested $285,000 in Innovation Funding from NJPA.
  • The Alternative Career Pathways initiative supports personalized professional development for educators. The program was developed out of a desire by teachers and administrators to find graduate-level programs with direct relevance to their classroom and content area. Little Falls, Menahga, Pequot Lakes, Pierz, Swanville, Upsala, Verndale, Bertha-Hewitt, Pillager, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley school districts will collaborate in the program, which started in Little Falls. The $300,000 request includes the cost of a regional coordinator for the program.
  • Innovative Classroom Matching Funds was spearheaded by Pillager Public Schools, requesting $75,000 to be used for matching grant funding to a single 50I(c)(3) organization from each school district that raises funds for innovative classroom grants in public schools within Region Five. This project would match dollar for dollar any money raised up to $5,000 for a public school district foundation. By providing these funds, the community, alumni, and friends of the foundations are motivated by the call to action and incentive to support public education at a new level of giving.
  • The Search Institute and The Roadmap to REACH, was proposed for the Pine River-Backus School District, Pequot Lakes School District, Staples-Motley School District, Little Falls School District, Northland Communities Schools, and Crosslake Charter School. In order to better serve Region 5 students and promote academic, social and emotional success and health, The Roadmap to REACH is a research-based and data-driven program that will strengthen student motivation to succeed in school and beyond by developing non-cognitive skills. The project includes pre and post intervention survey analysis; intensive, intentional and focused professional development -with cohorts of teachers/professional staff from each participating school. The proposal requested $72,100 which would include regional coordination support.
  • FIT (Follow IT Through) Activity Day allows school leaders the opportunity to provide needed time for effective implementation of new initiatives, while providing families a safe and dependable plan for their children during the non-school day. The program will communicate to the entire community the importance of giving educators the opportunity to learn and practice new skills over a period of time which will embed the learning into the daily life of the school. The Staples-Motley School District is seeking $23,050 for the proposal.
  • The Rural Minnesota CEP, Inc. (RMCEP) Career Advisor Program is seeking to provide career advisor services to an additional 4500 students in the 16 school districts that they currently serve throughout the five-county Central Minnesota Region including Crow Wing, Todd, Morrison, Wadena and Cass Counties. These services provide students and families with information, guidance, and opportunities to connect them with community employers and regional Occupations in Demand. These connections will provide enhanced opportunities that lead to a more prosperous future and contributes to breaking the chronic cycles of poverty that exists in families across the region. The RMCEP was seeking $374,000 in Innovation Funding.
About NJPA

Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) is a self-supporting government organization, partnering with education, government, and nonprofits to boost student and community success. Created in 1978 as one of Minnesota's nine service cooperatives, we offer training and shared services to our central-Minnesota members. Throughout North America, we offer a cooperative purchasing program with over 200 awarded vendors on contract. Sourcewell is driven by service and the ability to strategically reinvest in member communities.