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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • District 84 applying for Race to the Top nationwide grant

  • Local teachers who are members of the Southwest Minnesota Rural RTT project met with board members Thursday evening after the regularly scheduled board meeting to discuss details of a $10 million grant the district plans to apply for.
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  • Local teachers who are members of the Southwest Minnesota Rural RTT project met with board members Thursday evening after the regularly scheduled board meeting to discuss details of a $10 million grant the district plans to apply for.
    The local group of teachers numbering four are part of a larger partnership with school districts in Canby, Lynd, Russel-Tyler-Ruthton and St. James. Together, the consortium plans to apply for a slice of close to $400 million in grants that the U.S. Education Department will distribute in support of local initiatives that help close achievement gaps and prepare students for college and a career.
    The new Race to the Top competition encourages districts to create learning environments that are aligned with college and career-ready standards, accelerate student achievement and expand access to the most effective teachers.
    The guidelines do not advocate a single approach but require applicants to design a personalized learning environment that uses data-based and digital tools to meet the needs of individual students.
    In order to qualify, at least 40 percent of participating students must come from low-income families. The districts also must put into place teacher, principal and superintendent evaluation systems by the 2014-15 school year and be able to provide instructors with data on student growth.
    The Education Department expects to give 15 to 25 districts four-year grants ranging from $5 million to $40 million, depending on their size.
    Superintendent John Cselovszki said the mayor of Sleepy Eye has lent his support of this grant in a form of a letter of recommendation as have local Sleepy Eye businesses including Schwartz Farms, Inc., the Mark Thomas Company and Arneson Distributing.
    In other news, the board approved:
    • to contribute $200 for each SEPS varsity hockey player toward the cost of the hockey participation fee.
    • Crystal Ibberson as the girls junior high basketball coach.
    • Sleepy Eye danceline's participation in the MNSHL sponsored competitive program.
    • to accept a $1,000 anonymous donation to first grade and a $1,000 anonymous donation to third grade.
    • to accept a $50 donation by the Simplyread Book Club to the library.
    • Extended Day personnel.
    • the Truth and Taxation hearing date set for Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
    • a band and choir trip to Chicago for the second to last weekend in March.
    The next regularly scheduled school board meeting will be on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

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