HISD wins $30 million Race to the Top grant

Dec 18, 2013 by

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that the Houston Independent School District won one of its coveted education grants for roughly $30 million.

After losing its bid last year, HISD was among five school districts that landed federal Race to the Top grants, intended to promote academic improvement.

HISD plans to spend the money on an effort to make school more relevant, focusing on project-based learning and career training in high school. The district is calling the initiative “linked learning.”

“We have too many kids that are dropping out of school because they’re not engaged and they don’t see a real link between what they’re doing in school and their future interests,” Superintendent Terry Grier said.

Grier had lobbied the Obama administration a few years ago to allow districts to apply for the grants after Texas Gov. Rick Perry refused to let the state as a whole participate.

The other winners were districts in South Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky and Arkansas. Last year the department named 16 district winners, including the Houston-based charter school network Harmony.

“We’re very pleased. It’s quite an honor, a bit of a coup to be selected,” Grier said.

The Education Department had announced 31 finalists, including Pasadena ISD, out of more than 200 applicants.

“These winners serve as an example to the rest of the country for how to develop innovative plans to drive education reform and improve student achievement,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.

News of the grant came three months after HISD earned another national honor, the Broad Prize for Urban Education, which recognizes gains in student test scores and comes with $550,000 in student scholarships.

via HISD wins $30 million Race to the Top grant – Houston Chronicle.

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