The New Haven Unified School District is one of 61 finalists in the running for a $28 million four-year grant from the federal government.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Education, the finalists — which includes only four from California — were selected from a pool of 372 applicants for the Race to the Top grant.
“These finalists are setting the curve for the rest of the country with innovative plans to drive education reform in the classroom,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a news release. “This competition was designed to support local efforts to close the achievement gap and transform the learning environment in a diverse set of districts, but no matter who wins, children across the country will benefit from the clear vision and track records of success demonstrated by these finalists.”
The Department of Education will give out up to $400 million dollars to 15 to 25 winning applicants to support locally developed plans to personalize student learning, improve achievement, prepare students for college and careers, and improve educator effectiveness.
The awards will range from $5 million to $40 million. The winners will be announced by the end of the year.
New Haven applied for a $28 million grant, according to the school district.
“This money would be targeted, so it wouldn’t help us overcome all of the financial challenges that we’re facing after five years of state budget cuts, but it could help us make restorations in some areas,” New Haven Superintendent Kari McVeigh said in a press release last month.
According to EdSource.org, New Haven is seeking the grant in order expand programs that are currently underway, such as the Kids’ Zone, a collaborative community program to provide “cradle-to-college” services for underserved students.
The district also plants to hire more literacy and math coaches, expand online courses for high school students and cut down class sizes for English learners.
Some of the money will also go toward buying mini tablets for students, enough for one tablet for every two elementary school students and one tablet for every middle and high school student, according to the EdSource report.