Marietta City Schools has received a $10,000 state grant to supplement summer learning and partner with Kennesaw State University for tutoring services, according to Superintendent Grant Rivera.

The Georgia Foundation for Public Education and the Innovation Fund Foundation — the philanthropic arms of the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, respectively — are awarding $100,000 in COVID-19 Response Fund grants to Georgia districts and schools.

The grants of up to $10,000 each are being awarded to mitigate the long-term impacts of the pandemic and will fund a variety of projects, including small-group counseling sessions and other mental health supports, purchase of face masks and hand-washing stations and virtual summer school and tutoring, among other items, according to the state.

The state’s list of 11 schools or school districts that received either $5,000 or $10,000 were chosen from about 800 applications.

The state said it awarded Marietta the grant to close a gap in learning that remains in some underprivileged school communities or communities with a large population of English language learners.

Rivera said Marietta schools will use the $10,000 to expand its summer school offerings and to provide one-on-one virtual tutoring and mentoring services with students of KSU’s Bagwell College of Education.

He said the grant and partnership not only give students more support and opportunity to learn in summer course offerings, it will also mean some KSU students who have lost jobs or summer gigs because of COVID-19 will receive employment from the district to the tune of $12 per hour.

“In our mind, it was a win-win,” he said. “We’re eager for what this means for our kids, and I think it’s a great opportunity for us to partner with Kennesaw State to have a positive outcome in our community.”

Marietta City Schools will provide at no charge three hours of direct instruction per week, as well as an additional three hours of academic support, to students in grades K-8 after recent approval from the school board to expand summer offerings. The expansion also includes free services to seniors who need to complete certain requirements in order to graduate.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the response we’ve had. We’ve had hundreds of teachers step up willing to teach this over the summer. We’ve had over 1,800 kids in grades K-5 and over 700 kids in middle school volunteer to participate in five weeks of summer learning,” Rivera said.

Georgia Foundation for Public Education Executive Director Paige Pushkin said the awarded districts have provided comprehensive, creative plans to make a difference for their students affected by COVID-19 school closures.

“I congratulate them on their successful applications and look forward to the implementation of their work,” she said. The need in this area continues ... and we welcome partners who would like to continue the investment in Georgia’s public schools during this time.”

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