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Three Ohio Proposals Selected as Finalists in Federal Race to the Top Local Grant Competition

Release date: 11/28/2012

“We are incredibly proud of this collaborative and these two districts and impressed by the innovative ideas they have put forward as part of the rigorous application process,” said Acting State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Sawyers. “They are examples of the creativity and drive to think differently about learning that can inspire schools across our state.”

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) will provide nearly $400 million to support locally developed plans to personalize learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps and prepare every student for success in college and careers.

USDOE expects to select 15-25 winning applications for four-year awards that will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on student population. Awards will be announced by the end of December.

Reynoldsburg’s application calls for personalizing instruction by increasing choice for parents and students, deploying blended learning in all classrooms, expanding the use of analysis of student data and growing college and real-world experiences for all students via a community-wide education partnership.

The Cleveland Municipal School District application includes plans for expansion of the district’s Portfolio Strategy, which currently includes 13 New and Innovative Schools, which were created in 2006. Portfolio schools incorporate specific individual student academic goal-setting and employ teamwork and project-based learning.

The Ohio Appalachian Personalized Learning Network Collaborative, a network of 15 rural school districts in southeast Ohio, would use the grant to offer everyday use of online and on-demand learning platforms. Additionally, the grant would expand offering dual enrollment courses, which provide students both high school and college credit.

"These finalists are setting the curve for the rest of the country with innovative plans to drive education reform in the classroom," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This competition was designed to support local efforts to close the achievement gap and transform the learning environment in a diverse set of districts, but no matter whom wins, children across the country will benefit from the clear vision and track records of success demonstrated by these finalists."

The 61 finalists, which represent more than 200 school districts, were selected from 372 applications the Department received in November. The RttT-D competition asked applicants to demonstrate how districts could personalize education for students and provide school leaders and teachers with key tools that support them to meet students’ needs.

Ohio was awarded a statewide $400 million Race to the Top (RttT) grant in 2010. Last year, Ohio also received a $70 million award a separate RttT competition for efforts to improve early learning programs.