Monday, August 13, 2012

ED Announces 2012 Race to the Top - District Competition

The Department of Education (ED) announced today that it has finalized the 2012 Race to the Top (RTT) grant competition. This year’s competition plans to award nearly $400 million to support local school district efforts designed to personalize student learning and improve academic outcomes.

In May, ED requested public comments on its proposed criteria for the 2012 RTT competition. After review these comments, ED confirmed its final program criteria, which will focus on district-level reforms. Compared to previous RTT competitions that focused state-wide changes, the 2012 grant competition will target local improvement efforts and focus on individual schools, teachers and students. RTT anticipates using the 2012 funds to provide teachers and school leaders with the tools and supports they need to improve student achievement. This may include, for example, focusing on innovative ways to improve student-teacher relationships and parent engagement – all critical aspects of academic success. Proposals should maintain a focus on RTT’s four core reform areas, including: 1) high academic standards, 2) data-driven decision making, 3) enhanced support for teachers, and 4) the transformation of persistently low-performing schools.

ED will host two webinars in August to respond to applicant questions about the program and/or the application process. The webinars will be approximately 3 hours in length and will consist of two parts. Part 1 will include an overview of the RTT-District competition and Part 2 will include a detailed discussion about the completion of the application form, as well as time for applicant questions. To register for the webinars, please click here. The webinars will occur:

  • Thursday, August 16 (2pm-5pm ET)
  • Tuesday, August 21 (12pm-3pm ET)

Eligible applicants include districts or groups of districts proposing to serve at least 2,000 students, with 40 percent or more of the students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. ED anticipates making 15-25 grant awards, with awards ranging from $5 million to $40 million over a period of four years depending on the plan and the number of students served. Interested applicants should submit their Intent to Apply by August 30, 2012.  RTT-District applications are due October 30, 2012.  Awards will be announced no later than December 21, 2012.

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