Some of the Quad Cities lowest performing elementary schools are now eligible to apply for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional support. That grant money could get local students back on track.
Fourth grade teacher Stephanie Sanders has taught at Rock Island Academy for eight years.
"They're great kids. they're worth the work," said Sanders.
However, even with great students and dedicated teachers Rock Island Academy is just one of the schools that's struggling with test scores. The Student Improvement Grant, better known as SIG, helps under-performing schools. This year Rock Island Academy and Francis Willard in Rock Island qualify. Both in the bottom five percent in the state.
"It's been more a concern recently that they're not going in the right direction. We have to get that reversed and we will," said Rock Island Academy principal, Bob McGarry.
Sanders is helping write the application for the Grant. Money that could bring new technology into the classroom, from laptops or iPads for every student in class, to smart boards.
"I have two iPads for a class of 30. There are no computers in this room," said Sanders.
A challenge when so much testing is being done online.
"If they have no experience being on a computer just trying to navigate through that program is going to be more of a focus than the actual content that's within the test," said Sanders.
It could mean more support staff too, to help students problem solve and think outside of the box.
"It's no longer pencil and paper anymore...it is integrating throughout the entire day so that no matter what is thrown out to them within that test they can problem solve and maneuver around," said Sanders.
Schools have until May 7, 2014 to apply, but won't find out of they're selected until July. They could get anywhere from $50,000 to $2 Million for three years.