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By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – Two years into a four-year reform plan, the R.I. Department of Education has used roughly 21 percent of a $75 million U.S. Department of Education ‘Race to the Top’ grant meant to help support improvement measures.
“As we near the midway point in our four-year Race to the Top grant, I am proud that we have invested these federal funds wisely to further improve the quality of education in Rhode Island,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in a statement.
Chafee and R.I. Department of Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist gave a Race to the Top Year Two Progress Update at a Race to the Top steering committee meeting on Monday.
The grant was awarded in 2010 after Rhode Island was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a leading state in school reform.
So far, the state has spent roughly $16 million of the funds on efforts including training nearly 5,000 teachers for transition to new state standards, developing virtual-learning instruction in mathematics, implementing educator evaluations in all schools and districts, and launching its Educator Performance and Support System that puts evaluation tools, guidance and data in on location.
Initiatives for the program’s third year include opening the Academy for Transformative Leadership which will train aspiring principals in taking leadership roles in low-achieving schools.
“Thanks to the dedication of our educators, our students, and their families, Rhode Island is leading the way, and I am confident that, working together, we can make our school’s America’s best,” Gist said in a statement.
The R.I. Department of Education expects that by Sept. 30 it will have used a total of $28 million of the grant and said the state is on track to use the entire grant within its term.