The Secaucus School District will receive $499,360 as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s awards to help support local- and state-driven voluntary efforts to foster more diverse school communities through its first-ever Fostering Diverse Schools Demonstration Program, according to a news release.

About $14 million in grants has been awarded to school districts throughout the country in furtherance of the USDOE’s Raise the Bar: Lead the World call to action, which supports districts as they work to enrich educational experiences by providing every student with a well-rounded education and improved school conditions for student learning, inclusive of a broader perspective on the world.

“Every student in America deserves access to a high-quality education, but persistent racial and socioeconomic isolation in our schools continues to result in inadequate resources, lesser access to advanced courses, fewer extracurricular offerings, and other tangible inequities that disproportionately impact students of color and students from low-income backgrounds at every stage of their educational journeys and throughout their lives,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Our Fostering Diverse Schools Grant program will support innovative, locally-driven efforts to Raise the Bar for academic achievement and learning conditions in our schools by providing more students with more diverse, more equitable, and ultimately, more enriching learning opportunities.”

The grant announcement comes as schools and classrooms have become increasingly more separated along lines of socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity. Yet, we know that diverse schools and classrooms can benefit every student, regardless of their race or background. The new Fostering Diverse Schools Demonstration program will support voluntary efforts by local school districts to increase school socioeconomic diversity, including by providing new or expanded access to schoolwide specialized academic programs, unique program options, or analyzing the location and capacity of facilities to promote socioeconomic school diversity.

Earlier this year, the Department released a report on State of School Diversity in the United States, showing that schools that are isolated along racial or socioeconomic lines often have less access to critical resources and funding. These conditions can perpetuate gaps in opportunity that can limit the chance for underserved students to grow and excel academically.

The USDOE received applications from eligible entities in over 20 states and made 14 new awards for this inaugural cohort of Fostering Diverse Schools grantees.

You can view all the recipients and learn more about the initiative to foster diversity in the full news release.