Race to the Top-District Grant Competition Highlights Community Partnerships
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education released draft regulations
for their new Race to the Top – District competition (RTT-D). The grant focuses around the absolute priority for "personalized learning environments." Significantly, there is also an emphasis on community partnerships that support student learning. The only
competitive preference priority stated in the regulations for this year's grant is for " results, resource alignment, and integrated services." The Department has prominently positioned its place-based work on community schools and Promise Neighborhoods through this competitive preference. The agency will award 15-20 districts four-year grants of up to $25 million.
Under the competitive preference, the Department will award extra points for districts that form a "coherent and sustainable partnership with public and private organizations." Recognizing that standardized test scores are insufficient for measuring student success, the Department requires this partnership to be organized to support a comprehensive results framework that includes education, family, and community results. Further, districts are required to identify how the partnership will integrate education and other services, identify indicators, and track and use data. The Department also requires districts and their partners to identify how staff and families at the school-site will create the infrastructure and decision-making processes to asses needs and identify supports for students, families, and the community. The Department’s draft guidance closely aligns with the community school strategies and structures described in the Coalition’s guide Scaling Up School and Community Partnerships: The Community Schools Strategy.
The Coalition applauds the Department for its continued emphasis on partnerships between school and communities in its funding. We encourage all districts that are working on community schools to apply for the RTT-D competition and for districts that are curious about how to create the community school partnerships that support the only competitive preference priority to contact us or access community school resources at www.communityschools.org.
The Department is accepting comments on its draft regulations until 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, June 8, 2012 and expects to release a notice for applications in late summer.
Community Schools at the Center of Place Based Reforms (Coalition Newsletter article)