St. Mary's Schools Receive $556,865 Fed Grant

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (May 08, 2008) - St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) announced this week that they are the recipient of a $556,865 grant from the United States Department of Education (USDE).

School officials say the funds will be used to fund Future Leaders of the World (FLOW), a mentoring program offered through the SMCPS Department of Academic Support for the most at-risk students in the school system. The three-year program, run in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maryland, St. Mary's College of Maryland, and Big Brothers Big Sisters, seeks to increase academic and social skills, and reduce the likelihood of these students dropping out of school.

FLOW will initially involve 168 students in grades 4 to 8, along with an equal number of mentors, and will take place after school at all SMCPS elementary and middle schools.

At five schools in the southern part of the county, FLOW will be part of the existing 21st Century after school program operated jointly by SMCPS and the Boys and Girls Clubs, but will provide additional service to those already offered to participants to increase the likelihood of their success.

Plans are to expand the program to all three high schools as the students in the program progress to that level.

"By involving every school, this program provides a resource for the most at-risk students," said Dr. Michael Martirano, superintendent of schools. "This program will be an essential component of eliminating the achievement gap, and we thank the United States Department of Education for this tremendous support.

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