Sunday, March 22, 2009

ARRA innovation grants

The $650 million innovation fund for districts from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (also known as "the stimulus bill) will be distributed next fall based on applications from eligible districts and groups.

Applications can come from individual school districts or from partnerships of a nonprofit organization with districts or a consortium of schools.

To be considered, applicants must show that they have:
  • narrowed achievement gaps based on race, poverty, disability, and limited English.
  • exceeded NCLB annual measurable objectives for two consecutive years or significantly increased academic achievement for all NCLB groups.
  • made significant improvement in other areas, such as graduation rates or increased
  • recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers and school leaders.
  • established partnerships with the private sector (including philanthropic groups), with the private sector provide matching funds to help bring results to scale.
Grant recipients can use the money to:
  • "expand their work and serve as models for best practices."
  • "work in partnership with the private sector and the philanthropic
  • community."
  • "identify and document best practices."
I hope a number of Kentucky's pacesetting districts will go after this important opportunity. Children all over the state could benefit from wider access to information on what's been working in districts with those strong results.

(Sources: ARRA
here --search for "SEC. 14007"--and a recent timeline from federal officials shared by Interim Commissioner Elaine Ferris.)

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