Five-year grant given to Steilacoom Historical School District

Military affiliated schools earn grant for technology and educational upgrades

By Bethaney Wallace on October 19, 2017

It was recently announced that the Steilacoom Historical School District is the recipient of a $1.25 million Defense Education Activity grant. It comes from the Department of Defense Education Activity, a Military-Connected Student Academic and Support Programs grant (better known as a MCSAP). The grant will allow the school to make upgrades and see ample education benefits.

The winning funds will be dispersed throughout a five-year period; just one other grant of its kind was listed in the state of Washington.

The district applied after they were encouraged to do so by the Department of Defense, said Celeste Johnston, executive assistant to the superintendent and public information officer. After earning a similar grant two years ago from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Partnership, she said it was suggested they resubmit. The previous grant was used to implement the Safe and Sound Program, which helps students' emotional needs through a three-tier approach.

The awarding grant was written by Nancy McClure, Steilacoom's executive director of assessment and intervention.

The Steilacoom district serves Steilacoom, DuPont, Anderson Island and parts of Lakewood and Pierce County. Combined, more than 3,000 students attend school and can gain access to new technology and instruction made available by this grant.

Johnston said it will benefit schools through purchasing and instructions, as well as tech devices for students.

The grant will be executed through the MASTER Project, standing for mastering math achievement standards through technology and educational resources. It helps improve students' abilities to take on a career of their choice and/or higher education.

A press release from the district states the MASTER Project will focus on two direct strategies: first, professional development through technology and other tools for teachers and parents. Their recent grant will help make this possible for students from kindergarten up through 12th grade. What's more is the program will help students with problem solving and to understand their schoolwork on a deeper level, ultimately allowing for a higher level of success in both courses and a future career.

The second portion of the MASTER Project is increasing opportunities for military-connected students. Because the Steilacoom district serves a number of military families, this is a large portion of the grant. In this bullet point, military affiliated students will have better access to math work and resources, mainly through online channels. With this improvement, Steilacoom will create a one-to-one ratio between its students and technology devices. An increase in the number of devices, the district says, means students will have better access to instructional and learning opportunities.

It's an improvement that will allow for better submersion of curriculum, while allowing students a better chance at learning, catching up, or even working ahead on mathematics as well as other subjects.

To learn more about the upcoming grant and how it can affect local students, schools, education leaders and in-classroom technology, head to the district's website at