Brighton School District 27J will get a portion of $17.9 million in Race to the Top federal grant funding provided to the state of Colorado.
The district learned of the grant May 24. It is one of 161 Colorado school districts to be awarded “Race to the Top 3” grant money. The school district will receive $43,675 over a four-year timeframe. The money will go toward the alignment of the district’s teacher evaluation system with new teacher effectiveness requirements.
Race to the Top, a federal initiative launched in 2009, provides $4.35 billion in federal grants in an effort to boost K-12 public schools’ education reform efforts. Colorado was not accepted in either of the first two rounds of grant funding in 2010 and 2011. In December, Colorado was one of seven states to receive a portion of $200 million in grant funding.
The Colorado Department of Education opened the grant application process to school districts in February. District applicants could align their work to one of three fields: Standards and Assessment, Educator Effectiveness or STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) initiatives. The 27J application, submitted in March, presented its scope of work as the alignment of its teacher evaluation system to the new SB 191 Educator Effectiveness requirements. The effectiveness requirements, approved by the state Legislature in 2010 and will be implemented in 2013, link a teacher’s career advancement qualifications to student academic growth.
27J’s scope of work outlined in the application is designed to build on current practice and identify recommendations to enhance the district's teacher evaluation system. The emphasis will be to further improve the new evaluation instrument by providing support and training for teachers and evaluators. Feedback will be solicited and analyzed during all four years of the grant.
“The key to a high level of student achievement is making sure we have highly-qualified teachers in each of our classrooms,” said 27J Chief Academic Officer Kelly Corbett. “This grant will help us with our ultimate goal to continue to provide meaningful teacher evaluation that is compliant with SB 191.”
School district award amounts were based on the district’s number of Title 1A-eligible students (economically-disadvantaged students). Funds will be available in June. Work begins districtwide in July. The grant will end Dec. 30, 2015.