QUICK FACTS ABOUT RACE TO THE TOP
Race to the Top (RttT) is a competitive federal grant program initiated by the Department of Education to promote innovation and reform in K-12 education. It grew out of ARRA discretionary funding given to Arne Duncan’s Dept of Education (totaling $4.35 billion). ARRA funding carries with it very specific spending regulations.
12 states, including North Carolina, have won approximately $400 million each in grant funding over the past couple of years. NC obtained its $400 million dollar grant award in the fall of 2010, with funds covering a four-year grant cycle lasting through 2014. Half of the awarded amount ($200 million) had to be sub-granted to Local Educational Agencies (or school districts) statewide.North Carolina’s winning grant was largely the work of North Carolina State’s Friday Institute, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and many other partners, including for-profit, non-profit, and educational organizations.North Carolina’s RttT plan included quantitatively measured student outcomes that are mirrored in our local RttT plan. The four outcomes include:
In addition, the state and local plan focus on four pillars of educational reform:
- Student Achievement (4th & 8th grade reading and math)
- Graduation Rates (4-year cohort rate)
- College Readiness (SAT performance composite and AP enrollments/course performance)
- College Enrollment (% of high school youth enrolling in post-secondary programs
The use of technological resources across the four pillars is a cornerstone of state improvement. In order for Buncombe County Schools to obtain its share ($3.5 million) of the $200 million sub-granting awards, the district, along with all public school systems and charter schools, had to create a local plan known as our “Detailed Scope of Work” (DSW)
- Producing and fostering great teachers and principals
- Data-driven decisions at all levels
- Turning around the Lowest Achieving Schools
- Adherence to new Standards and Assessments
Question: Where is the state and district DSW plan housed and how do people get access to it?Answer: It’s on the DPI RttT website (http://www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt/state/) or found here.
Question: Who wrote the plan and who manages the grant?Answer: A district committee that included public input wrote the grant plan. Oversight is given by Associate Superintendent Susanne Swanger, Grant Writer Dr. Lori Brown, and Data Analyst Dr. Cheri Boone. Financial oversight is given by the BCS Budget office. NCDPI oversees our management of the local plan through the presence of a regional lead, Dr. Keith Eades.
Question: Why does RttT really matter to us?
Answer: The federal government has allowed this significant chunk of funding to be applied to public education for the sole purpose of promoting innovative, research-based educational initiatives designed to foster stronger instructional leaders and college and career ready students. The Department of Education isn’t interested in funding programs for the sake of programs. They want to see true outcomes reflecting measurable school and district change. Our district task up through 2014 is to track changes in student and teacher knowledge (achievement), behavior, and attitudes as a result of this Race to the Top initiative so that we can determine whether or not we are enabling true district reform. If you have additional questions, please contact BCS Grant Writer Dr. Lori Brown at 828-225-4787 (email@example.com) or Race to the Top Data Analyst Dr. Cheri Boone at 828-225-5283 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Below are several important links providing grant related facts and documents
North Carolina’s official Race to the Top Website: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt/
Race to the Top Weekly Updates from NCDPI – This site provides information for anyone wanting to sign up for Michael Yarbrough’s weekly updates: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt/updates/
North Carolina’s Race to the Top Detailed Scope of Work: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt/state/
All North Carolina School District Detailed Scope of Work Plans (BCS’s plan is included in the region 8 link) http://www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt/lea-charter/
Buncombe County Schools’ Race to the Top: Detailed Scope of Work
Race to the Top FAQ’s: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/rttt/faq/