The U.S. Department of Education has notified Governor Lincoln D. Chafee that it has approved a no-cost extension of the Rhode Island Race to the Top grant program.
The approval extends the grant period to July 1, 2015, and it allows Rhode Island to expend the $2.4 million in remaining (unspent and unobligated) Race to the Top funds to complete an online support system that provides resources for educators and to provide additional professional development for teachers.
"This no-cost extension that the U.S. Department of Education has approved will enable Rhode Island to meet all of the commitments in our successful Race to the Top application of 2010," said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. "This entire grant initiative has been a dynamic partnership between the R.I. Department of Education and school districts across the state. Educators have come together and used these funds to improve our schools, and our students will benefit for years to come."
"As its name implies, the no-cost extension of our Race to the Top program will involve no additional costs to the state or our school districts," said Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist. "To date, we have completed nearly all of our Race to the Top initiatives, but this extension will ensure that we wisely invest all of the funds from the grant to provide our teachers and school leaders with additional resources and support that will help them advance student achievement."
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Rhode Island a $75 million Race to the Top grant. Over the past four years, the R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) and all Rhode Island school districts, charter public schools, and state-operated schools have used these funds for:
--professional development for educators on transition to the Common Core State Standards;
--development by educators of curriculum in English language arts and mathematics aligned with the standards;
--training for educators on the use of data;
--implementation of annual evaluations of all educators;
--expansion of new and existing charter public schools;
--an induction program and supports for new teachers;
--an academy for training aspiring principals; and
--development and implementation of virtual learning math modules for students.
Under terms of the no-cost extension, $1,952,000 in remaining Race to the Top funds will enable RIDE and the participating school districts to complete work on a data system to provide educators with additional support and resources, including:
--data on each educator's students that is password-protected and secure;
--a bank of assessment items for classroom and instructional use;
--assessments for measuring student progress (interim assessments); and
--other resources and information that support teaching, learning, and the use of data.
RIDE launched the initial phase of this project, the Instructional Support System, two years ago, and RIDE anticipates that all three phases of the project will be completed by the end of the calendar year. Under the no-cost extension, school districts will also have the opportunity to request unspent Race to the Top funds to further their expertise in the use of the data and resources in the Instructional Support System.
The no-cost extension provides funding for two additional components of the Race to the Top Scope of Work:
--$200,000 to support a platform to provide educators with better access to professional development; and --approximately $280,000 to provide additional professional development to educators preparing to work in the lowest-achieving schools.
Under terms of the no-cost extension, all Race to the Top funds are to be liquidated by September 1, 2015 or the funds revert to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Rhode Island fully expects to expend all funds by the deadline.
For more information: Elliot Krieger, Office of the Commissioner, R.I. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, (401) 222-8471 or firstname.lastname@example.org