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Guilford Co. Schools Wins $30M Federal Race To The Top Grant

12:16 AM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Guilford County Schools has won a $30 million federal Race to the Top-District Program grant, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) announced Tuesday.

The school system plans to use the money to "create and stimulate student-led learning in the district's 24 middle schools." Part of that effort, the district said, would include students using fewer textbooks. Instead, they'd use educational software loaded onto a tablet device.

"The tablet would free students to work at their own pace," a school system news release said, "using personal learning 'maps' on the tablets that show them how they're progressing toward mastering concepts."

Integrating more technology into the learning process is a major step forward, Superintendent Mo Green said.

"Our students are engaged with all sorts of technology tools," Green said. "And for so long, what's happened is they've come into the school house and we've taken them back a century. So now, we're going to catch them up and be with them in the 21st century."

The methodology is proven, the school system says, and it points to elementary school Montlieu Academy of Technology as a prime example. The school's principal says test scores there have skyrocketed since they turned to tablets as the primary teaching tool. And disciplinary problems have decreased.

"[Students] will come to school and they will be empowered," principal Ged O'Donnell said. "They will power-up every single day. So it's going to transform the way they learn. They are going to see a relevance. Our students are going to be engaged and our students are going to be successful."

Sen. Hagan sent a letter last week to US Education Secretary Arne Duncan urging him to consider GCS for the grant.

"I am so pleased that Guilford County Schools will receive $30 million through the Race to the Top-District Program to continue building on their strong track record of innovation in the classroom," Sen. Hagan said in a news release. "These funds will allow Guilford County Schools to serve 17,000 students while recognizing that each student has unique needs. I was proud to support GCS's application, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have on students in North Carolina."

Hagan says the Race to the Top-District Program competition offered almost $400 million in grants to school districts across the country. More than 370 districts applied for a grant, and GCS is one of 16 winners along with Iredell-Statesville school district from NC.

The tablets will be integrated into the county's middle schools over the next two school years.

Source: WFMY News 2


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