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Guilford County School District wins $30M competitive grant

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WASHINGTON, N.C. – U.S. Senator Kay Hagan announced Tuesday that Guilford County Schools has won a $30 million competitive grant through the Race to the Top-District Program.

The Race to the Top District competition builds on the Race to the Top program, which was launched in 2009 to inspire education reform across the country.

Officials said the program is aimed at the classroom level with a focus on the relationship between teachers and students. 

Hagan supported GCS’s application in a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  

“I am so pleased that Guilford County Schools will receive $30 million through the Race to the Top-District Program to continue building on their strong track record of innovation in the classroom,” said Hagan, according to a prepared statement.

She said the funds will allow Guilford County Schools to serve 17,000 students while recognizing that each student has unique needs.

Superintendent of Guilford County Schools Maurice “Mo” Green said the funds will go a long way in making sure the school district can personalize learning and improve educational outcomes for every student.

Organizers said the competition offered nearly $400 million in grants.

Officials said it invited school districts to create plans for individualized classroom instruction aimed at closing achievement gaps and preparing each student for college and career.

Authorities said 372 districts applied for a grant and Guilford County Schools is one of 16 awardees. 

 School officials said they will use the funds to implement its Personalized Achievement, Curriculum and Environment Schools Project, which will accelerate 21st century personalized learning across county schools.

The requested funds for the PACE Schools Project will reportedly finance the purchase of technology; training and support to students, families, teachers and principals; and the addition of coordinators in middle schools to lead a teaching and learning transformation.

Officials said under the PACE Schools Project, nearly 17,000 students in the district’s 24 middle schools will receive tablet computers to work at their own pace, using personal learning “maps” that show the students their progress in mastering new concepts.   

North Carolina previously won $400 million in the second round of the Race to the Top grant program in 2010.