The US Education Department has officially announced the availability of applications for the 2012 Race to the Top competition, which will make awards to individual school districts that show promise of reducing achievement gaps between subgroups of students, according to a press release posted to the US ED’s website.
School districts with at least 2,500 students and 40 percent or more of them qualified for free or reduced-price meals are eligible to receive grants of between $5 and $40 million to create programs targeting specific groups of students with the aim of closing achievement gaps.
“Race to the Top helped bring about groundbreaking education reforms in states across the country,” said ED Secretary Arne Duncan. “Building off that success, we’re now going to help support reform at the local level with the new district competition. We want to help schools become engines of innovation through personalized learning so that every child in America can receive the world-class public education they deserve. The Race to the Top—District competition will help us meet that goal.”
The ED said districts interested in applying should notify the department of that intent by Aug. 30. The application deadline is Oct. 30, and the winners will be announced by the end of the calendar year. The department expects to award between 15 and 25 grants through this program.
To assist applicants in preparing the application and to respond to questions, the department will host multiple technical assistance webinars for potential applicants. One webinar occurred on Aug. 16, while another is scheduled for tomorrow, Aug. 21. Additional conference calls and webinars will be scheduled and posted to the department’s website.