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ODE awards Reynoldsburg Schools $560,000 grant
The end of June brought good news for Reynoldsburg schools with the Ohio Department of Education’s declaration of a $560,000 Race to the Top grant for the district.
Governor John R. Kasich and State Board of Education President Debe Terhar announced the recipients of 45 Innovative Grants, distributed to school districts and community schools across Ohio, on June 29.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides $4.35 billion for Race to the Top (RttT) programming and Ohio was awarded $400 million in RttT funding in 2010. More than $16 million in state grants was provided by Ohio’s education department (ODE) last month.
According to Reynoldsburg’s Community Outreach Coordinator Tricia Moore, the district applied in May for the grant, which will be distributed over a three-year period and used for higher education preparation.
“Our Race to the Top team discussed different innovations and we, as a district, applied for Early College High Schools, which will create more opportunities for students to obtain college credit before leaving our doors,” Moore said.
The grant will help Reynoldsburg better align itself with current high school-to-college expectations and maximize opportunities for students through post secondary options (attending college while still enrolled in high school), dual high school/ college level classes and online course offerings, she said.
“Our goal is for students to earn college credit all three ways,” Moore said. “We’ll continue working with EdWorks, which has helped us plan all four of our academies.”
With the announcement by ODE, the coordinator said the district can now move ahead with plans to increase opportunities for college-level credit courses and ensure students are prepared to take college-credit bearing classes.
“We hope to see students have more success in the ACT and other college placement tests, and we hope to see far less students needing remedial classes when they attend college,” Moore said. “We’re going to hit the ground running. This announcement and grant accelerates and amplifies what we are doing.”
Stan Heffner, interim superintendent of Public Instruction in Ohio, said the opportunity for Ohio schools to embark on ambitious and innovative reforms will ensure the state is preparing students to be highly successful in the future.
“What you will see in these programs is a commitment to transform the educational culture of a school building,” he said.
By 2014, the ODE’s goal is to double the number of students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) academic majors in college and quadruple the number of students from underrepresented populations.
As one of 12 entities nationwide participating in Race to the Top, Heffner said the federally-sponsored program’s strategy aligns with the ODE’s vision and mission to implement a world-class education system in which all students graduate with a sense of purpose and are well prepared for college, work and life.
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