Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced its most recent initiative in the Race to the Top (RTTT) program – grants to individual school districts. While previous RTTT efforts have spanned birth through career, they have all been focused at the state level. With the announcement of the new competition, individual school districts can apply for part of a $400 million dollar pot that will allow them to implement the Obama Administration’s signature education initiatives.
According to the Department, “[t]he purpose of this nearly $400 million program is to build upon the lessons learned from previous state-level competitions and support bold, locally directed improvements in teaching and learning that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness.” In particular, applicants are invited to demonstrate how they can personalize education for all students in their schools. The Department plans to fund high-quality proposals from applicants across a varied set of school districts, including rural and non-rural as well as those already participating in a Race to the Top grant and those not currently participating. Finding the resources to draft the application itself is a challenge for several districts, especially rural ones, given the current state of the economy. But access to a pot this size, may be just enough incentive.
Interested in applying? Webinars and conference calls will be offered over the coming weeks to provide technical assistance, and districts need to submit their intent to apply by August 30. Applications are due October 30. Awards will be announced no later than December 31, 2012. Any questions on the new program may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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For CEC’s take on the Race to the Top Program’s initiatives thus far, check out our other Policy Insider stories here.