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GRANT ALERT!

Below is information about the latest Race to the Top Grant grant announcement.

The announcement states that the emphasis is on personalizing education for all students
and “is aimed squarely at classrooms and the all-important relationship between teachers
and students. The competition will encourage transformative change within schools,
providing school leaders and teachers with key tools and support in order to best meet
their students’ needs.”
Many proposals sent in will focus only on the instructional component and treat
personalization mainly as a technical consideration. We think that’s shortsighted. Grants
such as this provide another opportunity for those concerned about addressing barriers to
learning and teaching and re-engaging disconnected students to advocate for including a
focus on building a system of student/learning supports.
The announcement stresses “transformative change within schools [to provide] school
leaders and teachers with key tools and support in order to best meet their students’
needs.” In many schools, it is evident that such change requires development of a unified,
comprehensive, systemic, and equitable learning supports component. Such a system of
learning supports is essential in these schools for transforming the learning environment
(e.g., promoting a positive classroom climate and working relationship between students
and teachers). Developing a system of learning supports enables (1) truly personalized
instruction (i.e., an instructional match for both personal capabilities and motivation) and
(2) brings special assistance into the classroom as needed.
So, if there are local plans to apply for this grant, we recommend finding a way to the
grant writing table and taking a leadership role for including a focus on learning supports
component as an essential facet of enhancing classroom effectiveness.
See information at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/index.html

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Excerpt from Announcement: “The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it has finalized the application for the 2013 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $120 million to support bold, locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will directly improve
student achievement and educator effectiveness….Race to the Top, launched in 2009, has
inspired dramatic education reform nationwide, leading 46 states and the District of Columbia to pursue higher college- and career-ready standards, data-driven decision making, greater support
for teachers and leaders, and turnaround interventions in low performing schools.
…In 2012, the Department rolled out Race to the Top-District to support bold,
locally directed improvements in learning and teaching. … This year, the Race to the Top-District competition seeks to build on the innovative strategies already employed in classrooms across the country. This year’s competition invites applicants to demonstrate how they can personalize
education for all students and is aimed squarely at classrooms and the all-important relationship between teachers and students. The competition will encourage transformative change within
schools, providing school leaders and teachers with key tools and support in order to best meet their students’ needs. Applicants from all districts are invited to apply. The Department plans to support
high-quality proposals from applicants across a variety of districts, including rural and non-rural as well as those already in a State with a Race to the Top grant and districts that are not. These 4-year awards will range from $4 million to $30 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan. Grantees will be selected based on their vision and capacity for reform as well as a strong plan that provides educators with resources to accelerate student achievement and prepare students for college and their careers. Plans will focus on transforming the learning environment so that it meets all students’ learning abilities, making equity and access to high-quality education a priority. Teachers
will receive real-time feedback that helps them adapt to their students’ needs,allowing them to create opportunities for students to pursue areas of personal academic interest – while ensuring that eachstudent is ready for college and their career. The program also offers competitive preference to applicants that form partnerships with public and private organizations to offer services that help meet
students’ academic, social, and emotional needs, outside of the classroom.
More information, including the application for the Race to the Top-District competition, can be found at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district
The Department is requesting interested districts to submit their intent to apply by
August 23, 2013. Applications are due Oct. 3, 2013 with awards being announced
no later than Dec. 31, 2013.”
Excerpt from Executive Summary:”….Absolute Priority 1: Personalized Learning Environments. To meet this priority, an applicant must coherently and comprehensively address how it will build on the core educational assurance areas (as defined in this notice) to create learning environments that are designed
to significantly improve learning and teaching through the personalization of strategies, tools, and supports for students and educators that are aligned with college- and career-ready standards (as defined in this notice) or college- and career-ready graduation requirements (as defined in this notice); accelerate student achievement and deepen student learning by meeting the academic needs of each
student; increase the effectiveness of educators; expand student access to the most effective educators; decrease achievement gaps across student groups; and increase the rates at which students
graduate from high school prepared for college and careers. …”
Key Dates
?Technical Assistance Webinars: August 7, August 13, August 27, and September
4, 2013
?Webinar to Answer Questions Submitted to Email Box: August 15, 2013
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Additional webinars will be held approximately every other week
depending on the number of questions that we receive. Please check the
Race to the Top -District website for information on future webinar dates.
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Optional Intent to Apply Due:  August 23, 2013
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Application Due: October 3, 2013
I am indebted to to the Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA for the posting of this announcement.  http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/mhpractitioner/practitioner.pdf

 

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