Berea College is being awarded $6 million to expand a federal program aimed at helping students in high poverty areas go to college. The Promise Neighborhood funds will be used in Knox County.
Berea College is one of six grant winners from across the country. The announcement came from U.S. Secretary of Education John King. “From Washington D.C. to Berea Kentucky to Haywood California Promise Neighborhoods are proof that when whole communities join forces they can achieve together what no single organization could address alone,” said King during a teleconference.
Partners for Education Director Dreama Gentry says 20 educational interventionists will go into three school districts to work with children. Other staff will work with parents in their homes to boost children’s literacy skills.
The grant is expected to reach 10,000 new students. Gentry says this intense interaction can result in long-term academic gains. “To really create in the community this culture that all kids can go to college and can be successful,” Gentry noted.
A Promise Neighborhood program in adjoining Clay, Jackson, and Owlsey counties earned a similar grant in 2011. Sizeable gains in kindergarten readiness along with higher test scores in math and English have been seen in these counties. If given congressional approval, today’s grant for Knox County could result in $30 million dollar over five years.