HISD Makes Finals for Race to the Top Funding

The Houston Independent School District was named Tuesday as one of 31 finalists for $120 million in federal Race to the Top funds, from a field of more than 200 applicants.

Up to 10 winners are expected to be named by the end of 2013. Each winner could receive awards of $4 million to $30 million from the U.S. Department of Education. Because of its size and number of students it serves, HISD was eligible to apply for the maximum award.

“This is great news for the students of HISD,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “We are committed to transforming the lives of students through personalized learning. Being selected as a finalist, in the company of innovative districts across the nation doing this ground-breaking work, is truly an honor. If we win, it will bring much-needed funding to our classrooms.”

HISD is seeking funding for ‘Linked Learning’, a new model of teaching from elementary to high school that includes an early introduction to college and career readiness through project-based learning, which leads into personal exploration of life interests and aptitudes in middle school, and culminates with career academies in high school.

Applications were reviewed and scored by a three-member outside peer review panel, which sought to find a mix of urban, suburban, and rural schools with a strong emphasis on personalized learning.

Other finalists – representing 80 school districts across 21 states — include large systems such as Baltimore and Denver, as well as charter schools and some rural districts.

For more on Race to the Top, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/index.html