CONNECTICUT SCHOOL DISTRICTS REACH FINALS IN FEDERAL RACE TO THE TOP GRANT COMPETITION

. November 30, 2012

The Bridgeport and Hartford school districts are among 61 finalists for district-level Race to the Top grants, the U.S. Education Department has announced.  Other finalists include New York City, Newark, and Philadelphia. Three other Connecticut applicants, New Haven, Norwalk, and the Capitol Region Education Council, did not make the cut.

To be eligible to apply, districts must serve at least 2,000 students, with at least 40% from across all participating schools coming from low-income families. The Education Department received 372 applications from school districts, school district consortia, and charter school networks in 41 states and the District of Columbia.  It plans to award an aggregate of $400 million in grants to 15 to 20 winners by December 31, 2012.  Grants will vary from $5 million to $40 million, depending on district size.

Winners must promise to:

  1. implement teacher, principal, and superintendent evaluation systems by the 2014-15 school year;
  2. measure student performance against state-adopted college and career-ready graduation requirements; and
  3. have data systems that can link individual students to teachers and provide timely data on student academic growth.
The new competition is the fourth round of federal Race to the Top grants.  Only states were eligible to apply for the first three. Connecticut competed in the earlier rounds, but did not win.