Harmony Charter Schools Win $30 Million Race to the Top-District Grant
According to the Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman and other media outlets, a consortium of nine science academies in the Harmony Public Schools charter network is among 16 winners in the Race to Top-District competition. The Harmony consortium will use its $30 million grant to expand a “project-based learning” pilot program geared toward science, technology, engineering and math courses, or as Harmony Public Schools Superintendent Soner Tarim said in a news release, “to further personalize the way each student uses time, receives support to master essential skills, and deepens understanding of content.” Harmony serves 25,000 students on 38 campuses in Houston, Austin, Brownsville, El Paso, Lubbock, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Waco and has been consistently top-rated as Exemplary by the Texas Education Agency.
Sources: Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, San Antonio Express-News, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas Tribune
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IDEA Charter Network Wins $29 Million in Race to the Top Funding
According to the Monitor, the Texas Tribune and other media outlets, Texas’ IDEA Public Schools won $16 million in the federal Race to the Top-District grant competition. "I think with our track record and our vision of where we're going, we are a very safe investment,” said IDEA founder and CEO Tom Torkelson. IDEA serves 13,000 K-12 students on 28 campuses in Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley and plans to open 56 schools by 2017. The public charter school network was rated an “exemplary” district in the 2011 state rating system. The federal grant money will be used to upgrade the charter school network’s data management system to reflect student growth in addition to state test scores; establish a summer institute for both struggling and advanced secondary students; and collaborate with community groups to address issues such as drug use or pregnancy.
Sources: Monitor, Texas Tribune, San Antonio Express-News, KHOU
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KIPP DC Wins $10 Million in Race to the Top-District Competition
According to the Washington Post, the 10-school KIPP DC public charter network won a $10 million Race to the Top-District grant to expand the Capital Teacher Residency, a teacher-training program it runs in partnership with another D.C. public charter school, E.L. Haynes. The grant will help the program, in which novice teachers spend a year in classrooms with high-performing mentors, grow to train 415 teachers during the next four years. About a quarter of the program’s graduates are expected to teach in schools other than KIPP DC and E.L. Haynes. “We are very inspired by the support for the teacher-training program and the positive impact that it will have, not only for KIPP DC but also for schools across the city,” said Susan Schaeffler, chief executive of KIPP DC. KIPP DC also will use some of the grant money to improve technology, including data systems that track and provide real-time feedback on student learning.
Source: Washington Post