Five School Districts Submit Race To The Top Applications

Focus on personalized learning.

Five School Districts Submit Race To The Top Applications
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
Five School Districts Submit Race To The Top Applications

Five school districts in Connecticut have submitted proposals for the next round of  Race to the Top grants.  They’ll compete with districts nationwide for a share of nearly 400 million dollars in federal education funding.

This Race to the Top competition is open to school districts,  " ...and its specifically targeted to personalized learning."

David Low teaches engineering and math at New Haven’s Sound School.

"Now that has some chance of creating innovative solutions that will actually have some hope of succeeding in the 21st century."

Low was part of the core group who worked on New Haven’s Race to the Top application. The city’s proposal focuses on four areas. 

First, a Mastery-based Learning system.  

"If you take a Mastery-based learning approach and say, 'until you’ve mastered this set of skills, until you can do these things, you don’t move on.  Whether it takes you a week, or a month, you don’t move on.'  And that turns learning into the constant and time is now the variable."

There’s a Student Success Profile for every child with each youngster’s academic progress, but also any social and emotional needs.  Third, the funds would support wraparound services to address those needs. And fourth, the money would help to improve technology in the classroom..

Prior Race to the Top competitions were open to states.

Garth Harries is New Haven’ Assistant School Superintendent.  

"At the end of the day, the state sort of sets the rules of the road, but its the districts that actually drive the learning that happens within that And so we think its exciting and appropriate that the feds have made this competition open to districts this time around."

New Haven is applying for $30 million over four years. Hartford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, and the Capitol Region Education Council have also submitted proposals.

Awards will be announced by the end of the year. 

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.