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State Gives Local School Districts $8 Million in Race to the Top Funds

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 | 06:50am

NASHVILLE— The Tennessee Department of Education announced today it will grant $8 million in state Race to the Top funds to districts that agree to implement specific initiatives that advance the core purpose of Tennessee’s First to the Top plan. 

The money will be awarded to 83 districts that have chosen to participate in the First to the Top Scope of Work Supplemental Fund. These districts serve more than half of all students in the state.

In order to opt in to the First to the Top Supplemental Fund, districts chose to implement at least one innovative program or strategy in three categories: Teacher evaluation, implementation of the Common Core State Standards, and student assignment. These areas reflect priorities of the state’s original Race to the Top grant, and the districts’ selections will take effect during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. For a complete list of district options and participating districts, please see the attached overview.

“We felt this Race to the Top money would best serve the students of Tennessee at the district level, and we’re excited to see so many districts take advantage of this opportunity,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “These funds will allow more resources to be spent on these critical areas across the state.” 

Participating districts have chosen strategies like conducting the February writing assessments online in grades 3-11, using student surveys to count for 5 percent of a teacher’s evaluation score, and using two observers for at least one of a teacher’s mandatory observations.

Tennessee’s initial $501 million Race to the Top award divided the grant between districts and the state. The $8 million Scope of Work Supplemental Fund comes directly from the state’s Race to the Top portion.

The 2013-14 school year marks the last of the state’s four-year First to the Top grant. Additional information about the First to the Top program is available online here.  

For more information, contact Kelli Gauthier at (615) 532-7817 or Kelli.Gauthier@tn.gov.

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