Holmes Elementary School in Spokane is receiving a $500,000 grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction help to bring up test scores.
Last school year was for planning how they would use the money and this year they're putting the grant in action.
The school is seeing more teachers, resources and community involvement thanks to the grant, part of a pilot project created and funded by the state that targets low-performing schools. Holmes was one of three to receive the grant because of their emerging priority.
"Which means our scores are a little bit lower than they should be and we are focused on improving by the district," grant manager Stephanie Lundberg said.
Lundberg worked with Whitworth University and Gonzaga University to apply for the grant. The two universities are getting a share of the money to help increase Holmes' test scores. Part of their role in the grant is to station teaching students in classrooms for more student to instructor interaction.
"Seeing their, not only their MIT students here, but also having the collaboration with the faculty has been an incredible learning for all of us I think," Lundberg said.
Faculty and staff from all three schools meet every Tuesday to collaborate. They're not only finding ways to improve test scores, but also find resources for students who may be struggling outside of the classroom.
"If we treat, or help them with the other areas of need then we'll be able to support them academically as well," Lundberg explained.
It's not all smooth sailing; the school has a 50-percent turnover rate which means teachers are constantly having to work with new students to get them up to speed.
"If you look in a classroom that typically averages about 25 students and took a class picture on September 3rd, and then took a picture of the classroom on the last day of school, you'd probably only have 10 or 12 kids remaining in those classrooms," Holmes Elementary Principal Steve Barnes said.
Barnes added because of that, they're looking at it as a grant not just for them, but for the entire community.
"We can do an amazing job teaching kids, but if they're not here in school in the chair learning, we can't teach them," Barnes said.
They're only half-way into the implementation of the grant, but they're seeing improvement, Barnes said. He says they are continuously looking at their data as they move forward to see how they can improve as instructors.