Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced today that Harmony Public Schools has won the 2012 Race to the Top-District competition. Harmony Public Schools will share nearly $400 million to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student to succeed in college and their careers.
"Districts have been hungry to drive reform at the local level, and now these winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom. Harmony Public Schools has shown tremendous leadership though developing plans that will transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education.
"Harmony Public Schools will receive four-year awards that range from $10 million to $40 million, depending on the number of students served through the plan. Harmony Public Schools was among the top scorers among the 372 applications the Department received in November, which were evaluated and scored by independent peer reviewers.
"The Race to the Top-District competition builds on the success of the Race to the Top state grant program by supporting classroom-level reform efforts that encourage transformative change within schools. Harmony Public Schools was invited to demonstrate how they can personalize education for all students and provide school leaders and teachers with tools that help them best meet their students' needs. In developing their plans, Harmony Public Schools collaborated with educators, parents, and both public and private organizational leaders to ensure their vision was supported by key community stakeholders.
"Since the day he took office, President Obama has been laser-focused on the goal of ensuring that every child has access to a quality education. Race to the Top exemplifies this commitment and marks an historic moment in American education, raising the bar and improving outcomes for schools across the United States.
"Race to the Top-District plans are tailored to meet the needs of local communities and feature a variety of strategies, including: using technology to personalize learning for each student; giving students opportunities to learn beyond the traditional school day and environment; supporting students' transitions throughout their education, including from high school to college and careers; expanding partnerships with community organizations to provide students with targeted social services like crisis intervention, individual counseling and life enrichment opportunities; and providing professional development and coursework options to deepen learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields."