APS Racing to the Top in $40 Million Grant Application
The public's feedback on the proposal is welcome.
October 12, 2012
Albuquerque Public Schools is applying for $40 million in funding from the United States Department of Education through the district-level Race to the Top Application. The EPICC Plan -- Education, Personalization, and Implementing Common Core -- will focus on the personalization of education for all students.
“Albuquerque Public Schools is a leader in urban school reform in this country,” said APS Superintendent Winston Brooks. “We have blazed the trail of Common Core implementation in kindergarten through third grade, and this grant will help us implement the standards at all grade levels by focusing on personalizing education for all students.”
Not only is APS implementing Common Core State Standards, but it also is working to upgrade technology and create user-friendly data systems; build structures to ensure that educators have the information and skills essential to personalize teaching and learning; and collaborate with stakeholders to redesign some of the district’s lowest-performing schools.
The Race to the Top grant application calls for investment in professional development, technology to support online tools, early education efforts, secondary education efforts and the creation of an “Accelerated Progress for Students” Center. The APS proposal takes small pilot programs that have shown success and expands them to district-wide implementation like personalized and small group instruction, increases access to early education experiences, extended-day classrooms, dynamic interactive technology in classrooms, college preparatory curricula and supports and engaging families in education through all grade levels.
“One of the most exciting parts of this application is the possibility of renovating an existing building to become a hub for pre-K classes as well as professional learning rooms for educators, community school offices and parent training classes,” Brooks said.
The district is focused on closing the achievement gap of students, and high-quality pre-school programs have been shown to help. In addition, the district would develop a readiness assessment tool for all incoming kindergarten students and hire early childhood parent liaisons to work with families to help support their children’s development needs. This will be a support to teachers as they also focus their efforts on personalized education to meet the needs of students in the classroom.
If approved, the grant also will allow the district to expand the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program to all middle and high schools. AVID teaching methodologies have shown tremendous results for narrowing achievement gaps and improving graduation rates. Currently, the program is in 25 schools with more than 900 students already participating in AVID.
“We have really taken this opportunity to build a road map for academics in Albuquerque Public Schools over the next few years, especially considering the implementation of Common Core Standards,” said Shelly Green, interim chief academic officer. “I am proud of the application because of the supports to teachers, students and families from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.”
The district has posted a presentation outlining the Race to the Top plan on its website. There the community can give feedback and suggestions on the plan.