With a district average of 830, Glendale schools have continued to better the score of 800 on the Academic Performance Index, a statewide benchmark. The district remains above the state average of 755, according to the California Department of Education.
“Our problem with a lot of the funding is that technically, it’s focused on the lowest-performing schools in the state,” Junge said.
Glendale officials said they would pursue opportunities in the federal Educate to Innovate program, but were skeptical they could come away with new funding.
“We’re hoping we can be allowed to participate, and we want to,” Junge said. “[The grant] can’t focus on the lowest [performing schools] in the pack; it has to bring everybody up. I’m hoping they see that and we can participate.”
Competitive grants are awarded by states through the federal government. For instance, states must meet federal eligibility guidelines to receive the funds, and then those funds are divvied up by state officials, Junge said.
Glendale officials have grant-funded programs and partnerships with the Walt Disney Co. and other companies, and the district’s award-winning Foreign Language Academy of Glendale, a dual-language immersion program for elementary school students, will expand into middle schools through grant money.
An animation, construction and a health-science academy are three of several high-school-level programs that provide extra subject time for 500 to 600 students, said Alex Rojas, Glendale’s director of instructional services.
“There’s a lot of things we can do by using these moneys,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for kids for more than learning. A lot of these classes lead to certifications, and they’ll be certified to get jobs after graduation.”
For the animation academy, Disney gives high school students the skills and application of those abilities to construct professional-grade drawings and video animation. Disney provides some hardware and an instructor.
Glendale Unified officials are exploring the idea of buying the same software that professional designers use, Rojas said.
“It’s not a one-time kind of relationship,” he said. “It’s what are the longtime programs we’re able to sustain with the academies.”
Get in touch MAX ZIMBERT covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at max.zimbert@latimes. com.