Fredonia receives $188K effectiveness grant from state

The Fredonia Central School District is the recipient of a nearly $187,800 grant award from New York state designed for strengthening teacher and leader effectiveness.

Grants Manager and Director of Instruction Joseph Reyda made the announcement during a recent board of education meeting, adding the money is a result of the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund.

“I really feel that for the last couple of years, it’s been increasingly difficult to develop initiatives that we want to develop, so we will use this grant to focus on two key areas: data-driven instruction and technology integration,” Reyda explained.

Regarding data-driven instruction, Reyda said the data team at the middle and high schools will be developed to improve curriculum assessments. For the technology portion, the grant will assist in hiring a technology integrator to work with the school for a year. Ten additional SMART Boards will also be funded through the grant.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and it was brought to my attention by a BOCES grant writer, Jennifer Osborne Coy,” Reyda said. “She’s always calling me and saying, ‘Joe, I have an opportunity here for you.’ And nine times out of ten, I say, ‘Yes.'”

Superintendent Paul DiFonzo said any grant money to improve Fredonia’s technology program is “certainly welcome.”

“I’m very appreciative of the efforts of the people involved in writing the grant, including … Elementary Principal Amy Piper and Elementary Assistant Principal Ryan Sikorski,” he said. “They put time and effort in, and now we have money that will actually help us to increase the technology equipment in the classroom, as well as add technology personnel, and that’s only going to benefit our students in the long-run.”

Reyda added the funds cannot be used to supplant anything the school is currently doing, so they must be used to add to Fredonia’s offerings.

“It’s a tremendous amount of work and a tremendous amount of reporting, but I think it’s going to be worth it in the end because we’re able to really develop some of the good things we do here in Fredonia,” he concluded.

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