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$2.9 Million World Languages Grant Awarded to Escambia County School District by U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)

multi-language learning

Escambia County School District has been awarded a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to fund The Knowing and Embracing World Languages (KEWL) Project. The KEWL Project will develop biliterate world language experts by expanding the breadth and depth of language pathways for students in grades K-12 at fourteen of the district’s military-connected schools.


Competition for shares of Congress’s $15 million World Languages Advancement and Readiness Act (WLARA) funds was substantial. The WLARA was enacted to reduce the nation’s deficit in language capabilities by increasing the number of biliterate young Americans. Because this initiative is critical to our national defense, Congress elected to use DoDEA as the granting agency. Out of a pool of hundreds of eligible military-connected school districts around the country, Escambia County School District is one of only nine districts to be awarded.

“The KEWL Project prepares world language learners to step confidently into globally-relevant futures that are in high demand,” said ECSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy Smith. “We look forward to working with DoDEA in preparing our students with the skills necessary to compete globally.”

The grant will scaffold experiences for students at all grade levels to nurture interest and proficiency. Elementary school students’ interest in future world language study will be ignited through formalized language exposure and exploration in grades K-5. Accelerating early access to high school language courses for students in grades 6-8 will establish early language acquisition opportunities that pave the way to greater language fluency in secondary and post-secondary environments. At targeted high schools, adding advanced and college-level language courses and broadening the variety of world language courses currently offered will increase student biliteracy in grades 9-12.

The 4.5-year DoDEA-funded project will be implemented at Beulah, Blue Angels, Cook, Hellen Caro, Kingsfield, Navy Point, and Pleasant Grove Elementary Schools; Bailey, Beulah, Brown-Barge, and Ransom Middle Schools; and Escambia, Tate, and West Florida High Schools.

For more information, contact Joel Dean Hollon, Specialist, Grants Management at (850)430-7460 or jhollon@ecsdfl.us.