Bridgeport and Hartford are still in the running, but New Haven didn’t make the cut in the latest competition for federal money to improve schools.
New Haven Public Schools was among 372 applicants vying for portions of $400 million in federal money from the latest round of Race to the Top (RTTT), President Obama’s signature competitive grant for school reform.
While previous rounds were open only to states, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan invited school districts to apply directly to the latest round of RTTT to support individualized learning plans. New Haven sought $30 million to support a new initiative dubbed “Engage New Haven.”
“The whole idea was finding ways to make the learning experiences more engaging for kids,” said Assistant Superintendent Garth Harries. The district aimed to do that through personalized instruction, technology, and overhauling the district’s tests. Click here to read its proposal.
Hartford and Bridgeport were among 61 finalists the Department of Education announced on Monday. New Haven is not a finalist. The DOE plans to choose 15 to 25 of the finalists for four-year grants ranging from $5 million to $40 million.
Connecticut cities did not benefit from several previous rounds of RTTT because only states were allowed to apply, and Connecticut fell short of other states in the type of reforms urged by Obama.
In a statement Thursday, Harries said New Haven is “disappointed” it didn’t land the grant, but he noted that the DOE has far from ignored New Haven.
The city hit the jackpot in September with a $53 million, five-year federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant to reward, recognize and develop talent among teachers and administrators.
That grant was “a testament to the progress being made in New Haven to improve schools,” Harries said.
“We knew going after Race to the Top was a long shot, but we decided not to give up and went for it anyway,” Harries added. “We are proud of what we are accomplishing with School Change and we continue on that mission. We wish Hartford and Bridgeport well in the final round.”
Harries said though New Haven didn’t win the Race to the Top, it plans to proceed with its plan to “Engage New Haven.”
“The ideas that we were exploring in the grant are things that we remain excited about,” and plan to proceed with, he said.