LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) Laurens School District 55 leaders are reaping the rewards of their successful 2022-2023 school year. Having been recently chosen for a $13.5 million grant to bring in new on-site training for students, district leaders said this is the start of a transformation. 

“The research shows that there’s reduced reliance on social welfare systems, it also shows reduced crime and arrests, as well as increased student achievement, as well as increased graduation rates,” said Dr. Amika Thomas, superintendent of Laurens school district 55. “We’re so excited about what this will mean not just for our district and students and educators, but also for our community.”

The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, or NIET, said it’s evident how their help will be utilized in district 55. 

“Laurens rolled up their sleeves and got all the key documentation, application, including letters of support from their teachers, school leaders, community members, senators, to show that Laurens really wants this and needs this and will be ready to embark on this success,” said Dr. Tanee Hudgens, vice president of Research and Evaluation at NIET.

Once the NIET mentors and coaches come in, they will address the key needs and begin their support from there.

“Getting in schools, with the teachers, principals and other school leaders to make sure they feel supported and have what they need,” said Hudgens.

Superintendent Thomas hopes it benefits students, but knows the impact will make a big difference for teachers as well.

“They already have the passion for what they do, so this is just giving more resources and support to help them do the very tough job that they are given to do each day,” said Thomas.

The school district will begin receiving this grant on October 1st.