Race to the Top Plans Due Today!
School districts throughout Delaware submitted their final Race to the Top Success Plans today outlining how they plan to spend their portion of Race to the Top funds. The Delaware Department of Education will review the plans and either accept as is or send back to the districts with specific feedback. After that, the districts will have until mid-May to make modifications and resubmit to the Department of Education – which will give final awards in June.
What types of activities are districts able and willing to implement? For starters, we already know that districts across the state are receiving differing amounts and work within different contexts – which will dictate the strategies they pursue. Some districts might determine from their needs assessment that recruitment of highly-effective candidates is a challenge and partner with national organizations. Or, they might determine that their college-going culture needs attention and choose to ramp up efforts within their high schools.
What do we hope to see in each of these plans or in the feedback provided by the DOE? We hope districts submit plans that demonstrate a sense of urgency, clarity of current student performance, and a clearly defined vision of how these initiatives will address help them reach their goals. The Department of Education, recognizing the difficulty in this work, provided districts a model plan that should serve as a baseline for their evaluation. If a district’s plan doesn’t meet this criteria, we hope clear guidance will be provided in order to send a powerful signal – one that states that going back to business as usual isn’t an option and that Delaware is committed to leading national efforts to reform our education system.
In the end, however, the plans are just that, plans. Once they’re approved, the hard work begins – when we all have to roll up our sleeves and make these ideas a reality for our students. If we can successfully navigate that, we have no doubt that Delaware will attain our goals and serve as proof for other states that this work – while difficult – can and should be done.