Two more counties in Middle Georgia are eligible to receive federal Race to the Top funds if Georgia is selected in the second round of the funding process in the fall.
Peach and Pulaski counties were added to Georgia’s Phase II application for the federal grant, which encourages states to implement reforms to improve student performance, according to a news release sent by the Office of the Governor. Dade County in north Georgia was also added to the list. Bibb and Jones counties were included in the original application.
The applications for the second round of Race to the Top were due to the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday.
State officials added the three school systems to the application so that all districts in the state eligible for federal school improvement grants also were included in Georgia’s Race to the Top application.
Both Peach and Pulaski counties are eligible to get $6 million over three years in federal school improvement grants.
The Peach County school system plans to use school improvement grant funds to academically restructure Peach County High School, while Pulaski County officials said they would use the money toward professional learning for teachers, additional educational opportunities for students and building parent involvement.
The state stands to gain up to $400 million over four years, with half of that distributed to 26 local school districts now part of the state’s Race to the Top application.
Delaware and Tennessee were the first-round winners for Race to the Top in March, with Georgia’s application coming in third.
With the Race to the Top funds, Peach County, along with other districts receiving the funding, would pilot a new teacher evaluation system and help develop a growth model for student accountability, according to Superintendent Susan Clark.
“Whatever we get from it we will use to complement our district plan for improvement,” Clark said.
In Pulaski County, the funds would be used toward focusing on student achievement and teacher and leader evaluations at Pulaski County’s elementary, middle and high school, said Superintendent Janis Sparrow.
“If it will benefit the schools, I am anxious to be part of it,” Sparrow said. “I believe it will.”
To contact Andrea Castillo, call 256-9751.