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News Release - Colorado Awarded Race to the Top Phase 3 Funds

Dec. 22, 2011

News Release

Colorado Awarded Race to the Top Phase 3 Funds
Districts to get funds to implement state reform plan

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Colorado is one of seven states that will each receive a share of the $200 million in Race to the Top Round 3 (RTT3) fund to advance targeted K-12 reforms aimed at improving student achievement. Colorado’s share of the grant is $17.9 million over four years.

Today’s announcement of the Race to the Top Phase 3 award marks the culmination of a multi-year effort to secure additional funds to support the state’s aggressive education reform agenda. Countless individuals, educators, public/private agencies, business groups, and the state’s policy makers helped craft a vision for the state’s education system that was articulated in the first and second phases of the Race to the Top applications. Colorado has been actively implementing that reform agenda despite not receiving the Phase I or 2 funding.

“The award of Phase 3 funds, which was based on the state’s Phase 2 application, recognizes the excellent and hard work of all of the individuals who helped draft the state’s reform agenda and provides much needed financial support to maintain and accelerate momentum on the state’s reform efforts,” Education Commissioner Robert Hammond said. “The Colorado Legacy Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Donnell Kay Foundation, Piton Foundation and the Daniels Fund, all came together to help fund and support the development of Colorado’s grant application and their contributions made our application very strong.”

The announcement is welcome news for Colorado after having recently been edged out of earning a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant. That award would have supported early childhood education initiatives.

Focus of the RTT3 Grant

The state’s grant will focus on four major areas designed to advance the state’s education reforms:

  1. Leveraging and expanding the state’s capacity to support district implementation of the state’s reforms;
  2. Implementing the Colorado Academic Standards through the work of Content Collaboratives (teams of educators with content and assessment expertise who will develop tools and assessments to assist educators in implementing the new standards and with accessing multiple measures of student learning for use in educator evaluations);
  3. Supporting district implementation of the state’s educator effectiveness law (S.B. 10-191); and
  4. Increasing access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education across the state.

District Participation

As with prior rounds of Race to the Top, 50 percent of the award is designated for district use. All districts are eligible to participate in Phase 3. District funds are allocated based on their Title I share distributions. The state has 100 days after the grant is awarded to work with districts to determine participation.

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