New Haven Schools Don’t Win “Race”

New Haven was not among the final five school districts that won $120 million in competitive grant money from the latest round of the federal Race to the Top, officials announced Thursday.

New Haven had asked for $16.88 million in federal money to support “personalized learning” for all 6,200 kids in grades 6 to 9. The proposal, called “Engage New Haven,” calls for helping kids learn through cross-disciplinary projects, supported by “multimedia technology,” community mentors and social-emotional supports.

New Haven was one of 31 finalists in the latest round of Race to the Top, which is President Obama’s signature grant competition aimed at spurring school reform. New Haven was among those finalists chosen to receive money.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the five winners Thursday: Clarendon County School District Two (consortium of four rural districts), S.C.; Clarksdale Municipal School District, Miss.; Houston Independent School District, Texas; Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (consortium of 18 rural districts); and the Springdale School District in Arkansas.

“We were proud to be a finalist,” said New Haven schools Superintendent Garth Harries Thursday. “It was a long shot. I’m really proud of the team that worked on this.” Staff wrote the grant application internally instead of hiring a consultant to do it, Harries said.

“It reflected a lot of thinking about how to engage students—a lot of thinking that I think is going to be really helpful for the district, whether or not we got the grant.”


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