Cumberland Times-News

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November 14, 2013

BOE applying for $14.7M in Race to the Top funding

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Board of Education announced Tuesday that it is hoping to fund seven initiatives by applying for $14.7 million in Race to the Top grant funding.

“We are expected to know something in December,” said Karen Bundy, director of secondary programs.

Bundy, who gave a presentation on the funding endeavor during the regular monthly meeting of the board, said the grant funds were applied for in October.

In 2010, President Barack Obama announced the $4.35 billion Race to the Top initiative, which would make the funds available for eligible states. Maryland was awarded $250 million available over four years.

If Allegany County is awarded the $14.7 million, the BOE wants to utilize the funds for seven initiatives.

Initiative one is to extend broadband to seven remaining schools needing the fiber optics and to the BOE maintenance warehouse. The seven schools needing broadband are John Humbird, Flintstone, Cash Valley, Northeast, Bel Air and Frost elementary schools and the new Allegany High School.

Initiative two is to equip sixth- and ninth-graders with tablet devices to use over their middle and high school careers.

The third initiative is to upgrade the middle school science labs, equipment and technology.

Initiative four is to expand the Chinese Immersion Program for grades two to five.

The fifth initiative is to develop a digital program and online sources for Spanish and French students to have connections to native speakers of those languages.

Initiative six is for a curriculum and learning system to allow for the establishment of a Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Career like benchmark.

The seventh initiative is to allow science, technology, engineering and math teachers to have an externship program that allows them to visit businesses in the field and return with real world experiences that they can incorporate into their classroom lessons.

“If you don’t apply you will never know,” said Bundy.

Bundy said that there were 355 applications during the last round of funding from Race to the Top grants and 117 requests were funded.

“We have about a one in three chance. But, I’m a gambler,” said Bundy.

The RTTT grant program is aimed at boosting student achievement, reducing gaps in achievement among student subgroups, turning around struggling schools and improving the profession of teaching.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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