Utica Community Schools and a national consortium of school districts - the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools – are among 61 national finalists for a Race to the Top Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
UCS, Michigan’s second largest school district, is part of a seven-district consortium to submit an application that, if awarded, will create personalized educational opportunities for students through the use of innovative technology.
The Race to the Top-District competition will provide nearly $400 million to personalize and deepen student learning, improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps and prepare every student for success in college and career. The Department of Education expects to select 15 to 25 winning applications from among the finalists for four-year awards that will range from $5 million to $40 million.
“Utica Community Schools has been a leader in technology integration,” UCS Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “Thanks to our community and its support of bond issues, UCS students have access to digital media and a full-day kindergarten program that is a model for blended learning. We look forward to the opportunity to expand technology to impact a greater number of students in our community and throughout the nation.”
In addition to UCS, participating League schools include Horry County Schools in South Carolina, Joint School District No. 2 in Idaho, McAllen Independent School District in Texas, Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, Piedmont City Schools in Alabama and Vancouver Public Schools in Washington.
All seven districts are members of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition of 28 school districts in 18 states serving more than 2.5 million students. Districts in the league work with each other, research institutions and startups to demonstrate, evaluate and increase innovations in education.
“We are rising to meet the challenges of public education by harnessing the power of technology to personalize learning, raise student aspirations and achievement, and rebuild and renew neighborhoods and communities,” said Adam Frankel, Executive Director of Digital Promise.
If awarded, the Race to the Top-District grant may provide for:
· Digital tools such as tablets, laptops or iPads
· Digital content such as interactive lessons, activities and resources
· Professional development to focus on technology integration