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Commissioner Gist releases Year 3 Report on Race to the Top

Rhode Island on target to meet goals, objectives of the four-year federal grant

Rhode Island is on target to use all of the funds in the $75-million federal Race to the Top grant to meet the goals and objectives of the grant Scope of Work by the end of the four-year term of the grant, according to a report that Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist presented to the Race to the Top Steering Committee yesterday (Monday, August 19). 

The report, “Stepping up for Success: A Year Three Progress Report on Race to the Top in Rhode Island,” details some of the investments Rhode Island has made to date toward transforming education in the state and some of the work lying ahead in the final year of the grant. 

“As we near the end of our four-year grant, we are proud to look back on our accomplishments to date. We have invested these federal funds wisely to improve teaching and learning in our state,” said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Commissioner Gist, in a joint statement. “We want to thank all Rhode Island school leaders, teachers, and students for their commitment to these important initiatives over the past three years.” 

“We’re committed to making sure that, at the end of Race to the Top, this work continues,” said Eva-Marie Mancuso, Chair of the Board of Education. “I see the $75 million as seed money – as just the beginning of a discussion, not the end.”

“It’s the people out in the communities and districts that are doing the heavy lifting, and we really appreciate that,” said Colleen Jermain, co-chair of the Steering Committee. “We’re grateful for all you’re doing for Rhode Island and for our schools.”

“We’ve made tremendous strides in three years,” said Neil Steinberg, co-chair of the Committee, “and we expect to continue making progress through the term of the grant and beyond.”

The report highlights a number of initiatives that Race to the Top funds have supported. Among other examples the report mentions:

  • Educator Evaluations: All teachers and school leaders are evaluated annually to provide feedback that will improve instruction;
  • Beginning Teacher Induction:  Served 412 beginning teachers during the previous school year ;
  • Academy for Transformative Leadership: Trains aspiring principals to become turnaround leaders;
  • Transition to the Common Core: More than 5,700 Rhode Island educators have participated in Study of the Standards;
  • Curriculum: Districts are work together to design curricula aligned with Common Core;
  • Interim Assessments: Guiding teaching and learning throughout the school year;
  • Virtual Learning: More than 2,700 high-school students signed up for Virtual Learning Math Modules;
  • High-performing charter public schools: RIDE awarded two expansion grants and two development grants (Village Green and Achievement First); and
  • Data Use:  RIDE provided professional development for leadership teams representing 134 schools in 32 districts.

The report also includes a budget summary, which shows that we have spent $44.4 million to date and that we are on target to spending the remaining $30.6 million by the end October 2014, the end of the four-year term of the grant. 

The report is posted on the RIDE website Race to the Top page.