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Grant Money Helps Struggling High Desert Students

MORONGO VALLEY – At a time when schools are dealing with massive budget cuts, there’s some relief for schools in the High Desert. The Morongo Unified School District is getting a $2 million government grant.

“Their families deal with crises that we can only hope to understand,” says Tom Baumgarten, assistant superintendent of instructional services, Morongo Unified School District.

Thousands of students in the High Desert are from military families stationed at Twentynine Palms. Their parents are gone for months at a time and they move often. The students face unique challenges.

“Any move and change of school are difficult for a student, but it is a great challenge when it’s 10 or 12 moves during a 12-year school career,” says Baumgarten.

Nearly 3,000 students from Morongo Unified School District have seen their mom or dad go to war. Many Marine families fromTwentynine Palms face a fourth or fifth deployment to Iraq. The uncertainty and constant change of war is stressful for young children.

“It’s hard coming to a new school, starting over and making new friends,” says Baumgarten.

To help the students, the Department of Defense Education Activity awarded MUSD with a $2 million grant. The money comes at the perfect time.

The school district lost $7 million to education budget cuts. Now, the government money will save and enhance tutoring, advanced placement classes and support programs.

“It provides extra support, tutoring and intervention which will be of great assistance,” says Baumgarten.

Through the grant money and the programs it will fund, educators at MUSD can better serve the students whose parents serve our country.

KESQ News Team

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