USED REPORT: NC IS AHEAD IN THE RACE TO THE TOP
Innovation in support for teachers and struggling schools, along with the infusion of new technology are among the reasons North Carolina is at the head of the pack at the halfway point of its Race to the Top initiative, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Education today.
The four-year, $400 million Race to the Top grant, awarded in summer 2010, has entered its third year. North Carolina is one of 11 states, along with the District of Columbia, to receive the award. The grant's objectives include greater level support for teachers and principals, turning around low-performing schools and beefing up technology for students and teachers.
"North Carolina has set a clear path forward on comprehensive education reform that will better support teachers and principals and enable student growth for years to come,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “They have overcome challenges and proved what’s possible when everyone works together. We look forward to seeing their continued progress and strong execution of key efforts that will empower educators to transform their classrooms into models of 21st century learning."
The report cites a number of areas where NC has succeeded in moving the initiative to the forefront among the nation’s Race to the Top states. USED cites as NC’s major accomplishments:
- Transitioning to College and Career-Ready Standards, through professional development and diagnostic assessments for teachers;
- Supporting Great Teachers and School Leaders, through adopting a statewide growth model for tested subjects and online evaluation across all districts; engaging educators in developing statewide growth measures; training teachers through the new Teacher Corps program; and completing training for principals in Leadership Academies.
- Turning Around Low-Performing Schools. Since the beginning of the grant, 84 percent of NC's low-performing schools have increased their performance; 39 are performing above the target of 60 percent proficiency; and five of seven that had graduation rates below 60 percent are now above that mark. This has been accomplished in part by 72 coaches dispatched to these schools.
- Building Better Data Systems, through the design and shared services via the NC Education Cloud; and through the development of Home Base, the state's new technology-based tool to manage all professional resources and student data.
- Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education, through serving students in three anchor and 12 affinity STEM schools across the state, along with the development of new, virtual STEM courses.
"North Carolina citizens can be very proud of the hard work, determination, talent and ingenuity demonstrated among educators across our state, making our Race to the Top initiative among the most successful in the nation," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "This work has created a solid foundation that will benefit students who enter our doors for decades to come, preparing them better than ever before for what awaits them in college and in their careers."
For a copy of the full report, please visit ncpublicschools.org/rttt, and scroll down to Second Annual NC Report from USED.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.