New grant supports military-connected students in Clay County

Clay County working to prepare students for the future

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — For Sebrina Spears, the right school is everything for her big military family. She's the mother of four children and a teacher herself. Moving to different cities when called upon can be challenging.

"There's only so much you can do as a parent to make your child feel safe and secure and everything at home," Sears said. "So when they go to school, they don't feel left out."

Right now, a couple of her daughters participate in actives with the military-family counselor in their Clay County School. She said the Operation Hope organization also makes regular visits to their school.

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But now, Spears' children and other military kids will have a new resource for success.

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The Clay County School District just received a $750,000 grant from the Department of Defense Education. A district spokesperson told Action News Jax, the primary focus of the proposal is to provide direct services to 1,224 military-connected students at seven of their elementary schools.

  • Argyle Elementary School with 123 military-connected students,
  • Fleming island Elementary School with 126 military-connected students,
  • Oakleaf Village Elementary School with 205 military-connected students,
  • Paterson Elementary School with 184 military-connected students,
  • Plantation Oaks Elementary school  with 175 military-connected students,
  • Thunderbolt Elementary School with 190 military-connected students,
  • Tynes Elementary School with 221 military-connected students.

The services will provide knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for successful postsecondary engagement leading to STEM career field.

"College and Career Readiness (CCR)STEM program strategies will include in-class curriculum and instructional support, Saturday Science Camps, numeracy development, and a focus on inquiry and argument-based student learning. Teacher professional development will be provided to equip teachers to prepare students for success and to build capacity for post-grant sustainability," the district spokesperson, Nichol Young said.

For families like Sears', she said programs like this can make a big different in her students' education.

"It means a lot because sometimes it feels like we're alone," Sears said. "You move to a new place, you don't know anybody. So it's good to have somebody thinking about us and helping our children."

Action News Jax reached out to other local districts to learn if they received the grant also. So far, it was just Clay County.

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