Sweetwater Union High School District check
Sweetwater Union HIgh School District officials receiving a check for $8.5 million from the Department of Defense for the National Science & Math Initiative. Photo courtesy of the SUHSD

Updated at 3:05 p.m. Oct. 12, 2017

The Sweetwater Union High School District was presented an $8 million Department of Defense grant Thursday to implement a National Math and Science Initiative at 10 high schools that have children of military personnel in their student bodies.

The grant is intended to increase the number of students taking college-level courses to prepare them for the 21st century economy. The program also places an emphasis on increasing access and achievement among traditionally underrepresented students.

“This is giving us an opportunity to really provide the time and training to enhance teaching and learning for students and for staff,” Superintendent Karen Janney told 10News.

The 10-year-old program has been implemented in 217 high schools that serve military families in 31 states, 93 military installations and four military services.

Initiative organizers said schools that complete the first year of the program see the number of qualifying advanced placement scores in math, science and English increase by an average of 67 percent, based on data from the College Board.

The program will be implemented at Bonita Vista, Chula Vista, Eastlake, Hilltop, Montgomery, Mar Vista, Olympian, Otay Ranch, Southwest and Sweetwater high schools — located in Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.

The presentation at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier helped kick off Fleet Week San Diego. A daylong event is set for Friday with ship tours, displays of high-tech military equipment and live entertainment.

The annual Sea and Air Parade on San Diego Bay is set for Saturday

— City News Service