Latest Race to the Top-District competition nears its conclusion

Posted on Tuesday, 11/19/2013 5:15 PM

As the holiday season approaches, some schools will have more reason to celebrate than others, as the U.S. Department of Education has selected the school systems that will receive Race to the Top-District funding before year's end. The weeks ahead are sure to be a little brighter knowing that they have a chance to improve the instruction their students receive.

A chance to excel
Much like the other Race to the Top programs, the district competition is designed to help school systems take students' educational experience to new heights using department funding. During the competition, local educational agencies or consortia of these entities applied for a chance to receive financial awards, according to the department's website.

Recipients of the funding are those that can clearly provide a sense of how money would be used to improve instruction in their districts. For some school systems this may mean investing in new technological resources, such as student or faculty software, while for others, it could translate to more money for professional development opportunities.

Good news on the way
In a recent press release, the department announced that 31 applications are finalists in the latest Race to the Top-District competition. These finalists, which are spread out across 21 states, were chosen from a pool of more than 200 applications.

"This year's finalists created innovative plans, to drive education reform and improve student achievement, that serve as an example for the rest of the country," said Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education, in a statement. "This competition supports local efforts of diverse, trailblazing districts across the country to implement models of personalized learning so that every child graduates college and career ready. No matter who wins, children across the country will benefit from the clear vision and track records of success demonstrated by these finalists."

Of these finalists, five to 10 winning applications will be selected and informed of the department's decisions before Dec. 31, 2013. The recipients will then receive four-year awards worth anywhere from $4 million to $30 million.

Ultimately, the money received will help school districts equip their educators and other staff work toward addressing students' academic needs. If officials in school systems that could use a hand have yet to consider applying to competitions like Race to the Top, it may be time for them to do some research on the opportunities available to them.


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