Washington state wins another Race to the Top grant for Pre-K education

kids readingYesterday, the Department of Education announced a consortium of seven Puget Sound school districts were winners of Race to the Top funds, which will be used to improve early education. This award is in addition to another grant won by Washington state last year to fund early learning.

Paul Nyhan at Thrive by Five Washington has more details:

Washington state educators won another Race to the Top Competition Monday with a sweeping educational plan that contains a major push to improve early education.

A coalition of seven school districts landed a $40 million grant in the latest federal Race to the Top contest that focused on districts. One of plan’s eight strategies is to build robust PreK-3rd networks in seven school districts: Seattle, Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, Seattle and Tukwila.

The coalition didn’t just win, it placed second among 16 winners and 372 applicants, receiving 205 out of a possible 210 points from judges. That ranking helped it earn the maximum award.

The grant plan is both ambitious and unusual. School districts often work alone, but a couple of years ago these seven districts decided to work together with the Puget Sound Education Services District and the Community Center for Education Results as theRoadmap Project. When the grant opportunity arose last summer, the group was able to put together an application in two months.

Overall, the grant work will cover 147,000 students at 261 schools from preschool through 12th grade. But, the plan is designed to focus much of its work on 36,000 of southern King County’s neediest students, such as children living in poverty.

The seven-district coalition had a strong case it could use the help. Together, the districts serve a high-poverty region with large populations of recent immigrants, who speak 67 different languages. Every year, 21 percent of students in this region change schools.

Read the rest at Thrive by Five WA.

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