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.

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.