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Students at Red Bluff High School will be put into small groups under a program the district plans to implement after receiving a $2 million federal grant for small learning communities.
Big money is helping make Red Bluff Union High School feel smaller.

As one of only 28 schools nationwide to receive the Smaller Learning Communities Grant, the school will use the grant to implement a program that administrators are hopeful will allow each student to thrive under more personal attention that will be provided.

During the first 2 years of the federal grant the school will receive $720,641. Over the course of 5 years the school will get a total of $2 million.

The idea of the smaller learning communities program is to create houses of separate groups of students, Superintendent Dan Curry said.

Those students would have the same class schedule and spend a great part of their high school years together.

As students become upperclassmen, they would most likely be grouped by career interests.

"We're really excited about this," Curry said. "This grant allows us to build at a time when we know resources are limited."

The goals of the program are to increase student achievement and graduation rate and get more students to move on to post-secondary education.

These goals go hand-in-hand with the philosophy of Expect More Tehama, which is bolstering local efforts to get more students to go to college or vocational training, Curry said.

The district has had a similar program for freshmen and sophomores but it was cut due to a lack of funding.

With the grant, that program can be revived.

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Already some freshmen are participating in a small group program and are benefiting, Curry said. Now the idea is to extend that to the entire school, so each student will belong in a specific group or house.

A small group environment is successful because it allows for more focus on individual students. For students, it can bring a sense of security and belonging because they become familiar with their classmates.

"The goal is that no one falls through the cracks," Curry said. "Over the life of the grant, we hope to impact every student."

Over the next 5 years, performance indicators will be tracked.

If the program shows growth and reaches its targets, there is a chance it would continue to be funded.

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Staff Writer Tang Lor can be reached at 527-2153, extension 110, or at tlor@redbluffdailynews.com