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CUSD Wins DoDEA Grant for Fourth Consecutive Time

DoDEA school tour of Coronado Middle School

At CUSD, we are honored to receive a five-year $1.25 million grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). This partnership will allow the Coronado Unified School District to improve learning through visual and performing arts in all of its schools.

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Since 2009, we have been the direct recipient of $5.3 million from four DoDEA grants to support a range of needs of military-connected students, and all CUSD students.

The current Project Arts for Learning 2016-2021 grant focuses on increasing K-12 military/federal affiliated student achievement and that of all CUSD students in visual and performing arts and English language arts. Its goal is also to improve school engagement and college and career readiness of students.

Coronado Middle School Principal Karin Mellina and DoD representative tour CMS.

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“Over the next five years, DoDEA monies will support the professional development of all elementary teachers and some secondary teachers, and will increase the effectiveness of educators to deliver lessons connecting the arts to other content areas in the classroom,” stated Superintendent Karl Mueller. “While the grant targets increasing military student achievement, all students in CUSD schools will benefit. Our arts strategic plan just took a giant leap forward. We are truly honored to have been chosen for this fourth DoDEA grant award.”

Project Arts for Learning will boost our continued efforts to improve student learning through the collaboration of arts specialists with classroom teachers. Arts specialists working with our teachers will be provided by Arts for Learning San Diego, an affiliate of Young Audiences, a national organization dedicated to promoting arts experiences in the education of all children. Young Audiences is the nation’s largest provider of arts-in-education experiences and an innovator in professional development.

“The research is clear that instruction in the arts boosts engagement and cognitive gains in other content areas such as English language arts, math, science, social studies, as well as in the arts disciplines,” Assistant Principal and Director of Coronado School of the Arts Shane Schmeichel shared, who is the primary writer of the grant.

The current school year is a planning year for Project Arts for Learning, with full implementation beginning in 2017-18 through 2021. Our own Tiffany Bouchard has been hired to be the Project Director for this grant and will begin on February 1, though we already started planning for the 2017-18 school year.

Past grant goals have included science, engineering, technology, and mathematics, with a significant component in each grant to professional development for teachers.

“Our district’s science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) and personalized learning initiatives would not be possible, or as far along as they are, without the support of DoDEA. Representing nearly 40% of all students, our military students are the largest subgroup in our district and have unique needs due to frequent transitions and parent deployments. Department of Defense support has been essential to our systems of ensuring these students–and all students–are prepared for their future. We are so proud of our partnership with DoDEA,” explained Claudia Gallant, Senior Director of Learning.

The continued support of the DoDEA highlights their belief that at CUSD we have been good stewards of the previous grants. As always, we will continue to utilize these monies in the most effective and impactful manner possible.

DoDEA Coronado Schools Tour


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