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Harvest grant to help Martinsville students prepare for higher education, careers

LEFT TO RIGHT: Dr. Zeb Talley, superintendent of Martinsville City Public Schools, Angilee Downing, assistant superintendent of instruction, and DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation

MARTINSVILLE – Martinsville City Public Schools will prepare its students to successfully transition to the SEED Fund program at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), or other educational and training institutions, with a three-year, $416,120 grant from The Harvest Foundation.

The school system’s ultimate goal is that its graduates will successfully complete a program of study at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) or other four-year colleges and universities. Officials will use interventions and address deficits before students graduate to ensure they are ready for higher education.

With this grant, officials hope to increase students qualifying for dual enrollment by 80 percent and have at least 80 percent of students meet or exceed ACT college-ready benchmarks. Goals also are set for this year’s eighth graders to be on track in reading, and math using MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) data, and for fifth graders on track in reading and math.  

“With this grant, Martinsville City Schools will focus on supporting efforts to make sure students meet requirements to take full advantage of the SEED Fund, and to ensure that students are college and career ready,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “The school system will partner closely with PHCC to ensure the quality of students transferring into the SEED Fund program.”

This grant aligns with The Harvest Foundation’s strategic plan through its workforce goal by supporting programs that increase the number of individuals with degrees, diplomas and certifications.

Interventions throughout this grant include AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), STEM summer bridge programs for skill building in sixth through 12th grades, and VPT (Virginia Placement Test) preparation for ninth through 12th grades, according to the grant application.

PHCC’s MHC After 3 will partner with Martinsville City Public Schools to provide support for students. PHCC students also will serve as mentors to students at Martinsville High School.

In addition to academic supports, the school system also will address readiness areas of workforce readiness, which include time management, organization, communication, and collaboration.

“We appreciate the investment that The Harvest Foundation makes each year in the education of the young people of Martinsville City Public Schools,” said Talley. “This grant will help to enhance the educational progress of our students and staff. Harvest grants continue to be essential to the educational growth of our school division. Our partnership also is important for economic growth in our community.”

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