NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Public Schools have been named a finalist for a federal Race to the Top grant potentially worth more than $20 million.
Norwalk is one of two districts in the state to make the finalist pool, along with New Haven. In total 31 applicants in 21 states are in the running for between five and 10 grants. The U.S. Department of Education expects to give out approximately $120 million in awards nationwide.
The final amount of each grant will be determined by the number of students it will serve. Because Norwalk’s program would cover more than 10,000 students, its grant could be between $20 million and $25 million, according to the Race to the Top website.
“This funding would help Norwalk continue its work to ensure that every child gets a chance to succeed,” U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District) said in a statement Tuesday. “A good education system is the foundation of our economy, and this funding will help Norwalk Schools continue their work to help every single child success in school and beyond.”
Norwalk would use the funds to help bolster its “from Cradle to Career” program, according to the application approved by the Board of Education on Oct. 1. The project aims to have every student in the district reach three basic benchmarks: to read at or above goal by third grade, to be algebra-ready by eighth grade, and to be fully prepared for college or a career by the end of 12th grade.
“To achieve this mission, our vision is to create a student-focused culture in each of our schools that meets the needs of every individual student and staff member in our learning community,” Norwalk Public Schools says in its application.
These “Personalized Learning Environment” will teach students not only the basics in the Common Core State Standards, but also includes life-skills training and opportunities for kids to explore their own individual interests. The plan focuses on using new technologies and collaborative teaching and learning methods in the new curriculum.
The U.S. Department of Education will announce the grant winners in December.
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