District-Level Race to the Top to Focus on the Classroom, Provide Tools to Enhance Learning and Serve the Needs of Every Student
2012 Competition Proposal Available for Public Comment Until June 8
The U.S. Department of Education announced today proposed criteria for the 2012 Race to the Top program—a nearly $400 million competition that invites school districts to create plans for individualized classroom instruction aimed at closing achievement gaps and preparing each student for college and career.
“Today, we’re taking the next step forward. We’re announcing a new Race-to the Top competition for school districts that is aimed squarely at the classroom level and the all-important relationship among teachers and students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
“With this competition, we are inviting districts to show us how they can personalize education for a set of students in their schools. We need to take classroom learning beyond a one-size-fits-all model and bring it into the 21st century,” Duncan said.
Race to the Top (RTT), launched in 2009, has inspired dramatic education reform nationwide, leading 46 states to pursue higher standards, data-driven decisions making, greater support for teachers, and turnaround interventions in persistently low-performing schools. The next phase proposes to build on those principles at the classroom level, supplying teachers with the strategies and tools they need to help every student learn at his or her own pace.
The proposed 2012 program criteria invites applications from districts or groups of districts serving at least 2,500 students with 40 percent or more qualifying for free or reduced price lunch. Districts will choose to apply for funding to support learning strategies that personalize education in all or a set of schools, within specific grade levels, or select subjects.
Eligibility, as outlined in the proposed criteria, will be determined by a district’s demonstrated commitment to RTT’s four core reform areas. Applicants from all districts will be invited to apply. The criteria has been designed to ensure no district is at a disadvantage—including those already participating in a RTT grant awarded through one of the first three phases, districts not currently participating, and rural districts. Awards will range from $15 million to $25 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan.
As proposed, applicants will be selected based on their vision and capacity for reform as well as a strong plan that provides classrooms and teachers with the resources to prepare students for college and career. Districts must effectively engage and collaborate with teachers, parents and outside organizations to create their plan and provide assistance to ensure a successful transition to proposed reforms. Plans will focus on transforming instruction so that it meets all students’ learning abilities. Teachers will track and receive real-time data and information that helps them adapt their lessons and individualize instruction to accommodate the differences among their students.
The Race to the Top district-level competition will encourage transformative change within schools, targeted toward leveraging, enhancing, and improving classroom practices and resources. School leaders will have the ability and flexibility to strategize how best to use time, staff the school, and manage the school budget.
Teachers will have resources inside and outside the classroom that help them build on their talent and offer tools and ideas to improve their day-to-day work. School staff will work collaboratively to grow each teacher’s instructional skillset by leveraging the support and skills of their colleagues. And all students will have equal access to high-quality learning materials inside and outside of class, be challenged to demonstrate learning before transitioning to new material, and know where he or she stands in a given subject based on performance data.
The proposal offers competitive preference to applicants that form partnerships with public and private organizations to sustain their work and offer services that help meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs, and enhance their ability to succeed.
To read or comment on the Race to the Top district-level proposal, visit http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition. Public Comment ends June 8. The Department plans to release the application in July with an October submission deadline. Awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2012.
One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is the opportunity to be recommended by CSTA to serve on important state-level committees. One such opportunity is now available. CSTA is seeking science teachers to recommend for service on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), formerly the Curriculum Commission. This committee is charged with writing the curriculum frameworks for the Common Core ELA and math standards and will be tasked with developing the framework for the new science standards (once adopted). Members of the Commission serve without compensation, except that they receive their actual and necessary travel expenses in attending Commission meetings and participating in other Commission activities (airfare, lodging, meals, shuttle service, mileage, parking). No funding is provided for substitute teaching or administrative personnel; each applicant employed by a local education agency must obtain the agency’s acknowledgement of the application and the agency’s agreement to absorb any costs for substitute personnel.
CSTA is seeking a member science educator with experience with integrating literacy and math skills into science instruction. A familiarity with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards is preferred. If you meet these qualifications and would like to have your name considered, please contact CSTA at email@example.com or 916-979-7004. Please include a copy of your resume and/or a description of your qualifications.
The California State Library invites you to view our online June calendar that highlights four women who have achieved success in STEM-related fields in California. These women and their accomplishments have helped pave the way for future generations.
One such woman is Hattie Scott Peterson, an African American civil engineer who became the first female engineer for the Sacramento district of the Army Corps of Engineers in 1954. She started with the Corps at a time when cultural diversity in the workplace was not common. Her work ethic and personal integrity helped her to overcome the challenges she faced. In the late 1940s she was reputed to be the only female African American civil engineer in the United States.
This monthly calendar is a joint effort of the State Library, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and the California Department of Education.
View the calendar here: http://www.library.ca.gov/calhist/calendar6-1.html?utm_source=csl0613
You Are Invited to Participate in an Online Survey Regarding Possible Changes to the High School Academic Performance Index:
In response to state legislation, the California Department Education (CDE) currently is developing new indicators to include in the high school Academic Performance Index (API).
To help with this important task, the CDE invites administrators, teachers, parents or guardians, students, school board members, educational organizations, community members, and business leaders to take an online survey located on the CDE API Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/.
CSTA encourages you to take about 20 minutes to complete the survey and let CDE know the vital role that science takes in preparing students for college and career and how achievement in science should be given a high value in the proposed College and Career Readiness Indicator. The survey closes June 20, 2013 – please act today. Please encourage your colleagues, students, parents of students, and administrators to complete the survey as well.
For more information about revisions to the API, including the proposed College and Career Readiness Indicator, please view the video that was prepared by CDE staff as background material for the survey.
Comparing AP Science Practices, Common Core State Standards, and NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
by Bethany Dixon
At NSTA San Antonio and again at the California State Science Fair, I fell into a conversation about connecting NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and AP Biology Science Practices 1-7. In the past few years, ideas have converged on what it looks like to “Do Science:” the habits of mind necessary to develop scientific knowledge. This idea isn’t new to science education – scientific skills are still important. Haven’t we seen this before? We called it using the Scientific Method(s), or Levels of Inquiry, or whichever wrapper we’re putting things into… it doesn’t seem like the ideas of what constitute good science have changed. Or have they? Learn More…
by Lisa Hegdahl
The students are gone, the meetings are over, your classroom is clean – Learn More…