Gift students who attend Racine Unified elementary schools but might not have all the support they need at home to succeed and excel will soon get some extra attention thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The state Department of Public Instruction issued a press release last week announcing a three year, $1.1 million “Expanding Excellence” grant for RUSD, Kenosha Unified and Milwaukee Public Schools to help close the gap between disadvantaged students who score at the advanced level on math tests and their peers who do not qualify for free or reduced lunch. That gap currently sits at about 12 percent and is evident in just about every grade level.

Teachers will be trained to identify and help deliver services to “high ability and high potential students from low-income families or who are learning English in primary grades,” the DPI website reads.

RUSD will get a portion of the $376,983 awarded during the first year of the grant, but it is unclear exactly how much will go to the district.

“Children and youth who have gifts and talents in the academic, artistic, leadership and other realms come from all segments of our society,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in the release. “This grant will help us to better identify and develop high ability and high potential students in participating schools in our work on Agenda 2017: to promote excellence for all and prepare all students to graduate college and career ready.”

How the grant will be used in RUSD is being worked out, and district Spokesperson Stacy Tapp told Racine County Eye in an email that she will get those details for us. We will update this story when we hear back from her.

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