Gov. John Carney announced July 25 that Delaware schools can apply for $1 million in special funding to improve support for low-income students, students chronically exposed to stress and trauma and English language learners.

The new Opportunity Grant program — created and funded by Carney and members of the general assembly in the fiscal 2018 budget — will help Delaware identify and incentivize schools with proven strategies for helping disadvantaged students succeed in the classroom.

Through Sept. 5, school districts and charter schools can apply for up to 10 competitive grants through the Delaware Department of Education. Schools may receive a maximum of $350,000 in funding to support programs in the 2017-18 school year.

“We have students in Wilmington and across our state who are affected by significant amounts of trauma and stress in their lives, and we have to do more to support them, help them thrive in school and prepare them for long-term success,” Carney said. “That’s what this new program is about — providing effective support for Delaware students who need it most. These grants provide additional flexibility for schools serving disadvantaged students, with the expectation that results and successful practices will be shared across schools serving a similar population. Thank you to members of the general assembly for helping us create this program and for their leadership on this issue.”

Carney pledged that he would take decisive action over the next year to address Delaware’s achievement gap, and he has made it a priority to support disadvantaged students in Wilmington and across the state.

Earlier this month, the governor announced that Dorrell Green, a longtime Wilmington educator, would lead a new Wilmington-based office to support teachers and students in Wilmington’s neediest schools and in schools serving at-risk students statewide.

In considering applications for funding, the Department of Education will give preference to school-level initiatives, rather than broader district or organizational programs. Grant applicants must outline a detailed plan for how funds will be used — and grant recipients will be required to provide information on the outcome of the support, in an effort to showcase what is working.​

“We know those educators who work most closely with our children know best what supports are needed for their children and community,” said Susan Bunting, secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “This is a chance for local leaders to design programs and supports that meet those needs and for us to learn from their work to better support other children in our state with similar challenges.”

Grant awards will be announced in September. Superintendents will meet with Bunting and will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the grant process.