Delaware education program receives $694,000 award from AT&T [video]

 AT&T awarded Communities in Schools of Delaware $694,000 (Shana O'Malley/for NewsWorks)

AT&T awarded Communities in Schools of Delaware $694,000 (Shana O'Malley/for NewsWorks)

Six high schools in Delaware will benefit from a national grant provided by AT&T.

The AT&T Aspire grant has awarded more than $12 million dollars to 31 education programs across the country.  The Delaware awards were some of the most significant.

Out of the 1,100 applicants nationwide, the Community in Schools of Delaware program was selected to receive $694,000 from that grant.

Communities in Schools of Delaware will use the funds to provide mentoring and assistance in six high schools in the First State: A.I. DuPont, McCain High School, John Dickinson High School, Dover High School, Woodbridge High School and Milford High School.

“We put a site coordinator in schools to work with students who are most at risk of not succeeding and we enable them and support them with resources both academic and on-academic support to get them ready for college in the future,” explained Jim Purcell, president of Communities in Schools for Delaware. “Whether it be mentoring or financial literacy programs or college-career readiness programs, or even just basic needs, a pair of shoes, a pair of glasses, something that will help them get past the obstacles they have in their lives.”

This isn’t the first time Communities in Schools has been awarded funds from the AT&T grant. The program received more than $300,000 a few years ago to help high schools in Wilmington. Purcell said the results have been positive.

“Over the course of those three years we saw graduation rates go up, dropout rates go down and students better prepared to go to college, so we re-applied for a grant this past year,” Purcell said.

J. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T Mid Atlantic, was on hand at Dover High School to present the award check Thursday afternoon.

Schweder said when going through the grant applications, they look for programs that are established, have proven results and could make the biggest difference with the money.

“Communities in Schools in Delaware just meets all of that criteria,” he said. “We’ve been involved with them before, we’ve seen the results. We just don’t hand the money to individual organizations. We want to see the results going forward, and theirs have been outstanding.”

Communities in Schools currently serves 15 schools in Delaware, including elementary and middle schools, but Purcell said they’ve identified about 54 schools in the state that would benefit from the program.

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