Vancouver Public Schools a finalist in grant competition

It is part of seven-district consortium named a finalist for up to $40M

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published:

Updated: November 27, 2012, 5:24 PM

 

A consortium of seven school districts led by Vancouver Public Schools has been named as a finalist for up to $40 million in federal funds.

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Monday that the consortium is one of 61 finalists in the Race to the Top-District program, which plans to distribute about $400 million in grants to help districts personalize education for students and provide educators with tools to help meet students’ needs.

“The consortium is seeking the maximum award of $40 million shared among the seven districts,” said Kris Sork, communications director for Vancouver Public Schools.

Sork added that the grant would be used “to create the blended learning model,” providing for digital tools such as tablets or laptops; digital content such as interactive lessons, activities or resources; and professional development for educators to focus on technology integration, the use of student learning data and project-based learning.

If the district receives the grant, planning for implementation would begin in January.

The Vancouver district leads a consortium of seven districts in seven states. Other districts are McAllen Independent School District, Texas; Piedmont City School District, Ala.; Joint School District No. 2, Idaho; Utica Community Schools, Mich.; Mooresville Graded School District, N.C.; Horry County Schools, S.C.

The seven districts are members of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition of 28 school districts in 18 states, serving more than 2.5 million students.

Districts in the league work with each other, research institutions and startups to demonstrate, evaluate and scale up innovations in education.

More than 200 districts are represented by the 61 finalists. A total of 372 applications were submitted.The Department of Education plans to announce 15 to 25 winners of four-year awards ranging from $5 million to $40 million. The announcement will be made by Dec. 31.

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4530; http://www.twitter.com/col_schools; susan.parrish@columbian.com.