Final Race to the Top report highlights accomplishments

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island has implemented tools to help at-risk students and also has created a statewide model for teacher evaluations, just two of numerous accomplishments achieved in compliance with the $75-million Race to the Top grant awarded in 2010.
The R.I. Department of Education said in a press release Monday that transformative progress has been made and will continue in a summary report submitted to the U.S. Department of Education entitled “Rhode Island’s Race to the Top: Five Years of Transforming Education (2010-2015).”
“The investments we have made through our Race to the Top initiative show how much we can accomplish when we work in partnership,” said Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist.
“Over the span of this grant, we have narrowed several achievement gaps, reduced the dropout rate, and seen evidence that our graduates are better prepared for college. While much work lies ahead of us, the systems we have put into action thanks to Race to the Top funding will continue to improve instruction and to raise student achievement for years to come.”
Besides those accomplishments, RIDE has developed early-warning indicators and an early warning system to provide educators with access to individual and aggregate data on students at risk.
Inroads also have been made in engaging 46 percent of the state’s teachers in a study of Common Core state standards, professional development for teachers and administrators, and helping four of the lowest achieving schools make “significant progress toward improving student achievement.”
Some of the “lessons learned” include the lesson “that implementing complex policy reforms requires a clear focus, problem-solving partnerships among the [school districts] and RIDE, and meaningful communication and engagement throughout the education system,” the report states.
With the exception of a no-cost, one-year extension to complete some of the work, terms of the Race to the Top grant have been met, the report found.
So-called “ambitious” goals for increasing student achievement have not been entirely met, the report states. Rhode Island has exceeded one goal for student achievement, made progress toward 18 goals (including all of the grade-11 reading goals), but has not yet met 14 goals, with particular challenges in grade-8 reading, the summary states.
Other goals yet to be fulfilled include forming partnerships with local and national organizations that will support blended learning in all Rhode Island schools and launching a statewide professional development platform.
The full report can be found HERE.

- Advertisement -