Collier wins $900K grant for schools

Special to Atmore News

When Superintendent Michele McClung hired Michele Collier as her assistant, she had a few good reasons.
Now there are nine hundred thousand more.
Collier recently received information that the state had significant grant money available, but she had only three weeks to put together a proposal. Racing the clock, she outlined a set of programs and improvements county schools could use and submitted the grant request. Now the system has significant dollars to improve academics and give students a better chance at success.
Collier sounded like she’d hit the lottery as she talked about all the great things the grant money will provide.
“We’ll be able to apply three hundred thousand to each high school, and can also use the money for the middle schools that feed them.”
The grant looks like a wish list for any school system, and it’s one that’s come true.
Some of the programs the grant will subsidize include ACT boot camps for both teachers and students which includes updated software; district hosted “camps” for students in robotics, cyber security, and broadcasting; advanced placement programs; tuition for teachers to complete course work; virtual reality systems for career tech including career simulators; four college campus visit per high school; career tech programs for middle school students, and more.
Collier is really excited about the middle school programs and having advanced placement available for both middle school (pre-AP) and high school students.
“We want to open up that opportunity for them.”
Collier has been submitting grants for years. While many proposals are technical, her background as a former English teacher helps to make a grant request stand out from the crowd. “Sometimes you just have to be a writer.”
When asked about her reaction when she learned she’d won the grant, she said, “I got that email and I screamed! I said, oh my God, is this real?”
It’s real, all right, and students and teachers will see that money spent immediately to begin some very exciting new programs.

Brewton resident Randy Tatano is a veteran TV news reporter and network producer, and is currently a novelist and freelance writer for the Escambia County School System.