Pasco school district aims to slash achievement gap with Race to the Top grant
This week the Pasco County school district joins hundreds of others around the country angling for a piece of the federal government's latest Race to the Top grant, a $400 million fund that will likely be split among just a handful of districts. The application sets forth some big goals to achieve with the money, including the halving of the district's double-digit achievement gap in English/language arts within four years.
In math, the aim would be to shrink the achievement gap to less than 11 percent.
The district also proposes to create local end-of-course exams for all courses not assessed otherwise, by spring 2015.
If successful, the district's spending of the $40 million grant would include:
- $12.5 million to hire professional development coaches at every school
- $4 million for classroom technology
- $4.2 million for credit recovery courses in all secondary schools and electronic professional development courses for teachers
- $11.9 million to pay staff for two days of professional development annually
- $1.1 million for testing services
- $199,676 on travel
Assistant superintendent John Mann acknowledged the competition will be stiff for the grant. But "we wanted to have a chance to bring that type of money through grants into our district," he said. "A failure to apply," added grant writer Tammy Rabon, "surely means we couldn't get it."
Read on for the district's list of accountability goals it has attached to the application.
1. By September 2014, the district will implement a platform for the computer administration of end of course (EOC) exams.
2. By June 2014, the district will complete a single sign-on to improve access to data for all stakeholders as measured by usage data.
3. By June 2014, the district will establish a local instruction improvement system that meets the Florida Department of Education standards.
4. Develop local end-of-course (EOC) exams by Spring 2015 for courses not assessed by another method.
5. By June 2015, the district will initiate a web enhanced student information system.
6. By June 2015, the district will administer state-identified CCSS summative assessments from PARCC.
7. By August 2015, the district will employ a platform to report student assessment results on local EOC.
8. By June 2016, an Educational Learning Plan (ELP) will exist for all students as measured by an electronic ELP database.
9. By June 2016, 95% of seniors will complete and submit a FAFSA application.
10. By June 2017, the achievement gap in English/Language Arts will be cut in half for subgroups measured by the CCSS for grades 3-10 and local EOC for grades K-2.
11. By June 2017, the achievement gap in mathematics will be less than 11% for subgroups measured by the CCSS for grades 3-8, local EOC’s for grades K-2 and Florida EOC for high school.
12. By June 2017, 80% of instructional and administrative personnel will receive summative evaluation results of effective or highly effective.
13. By 2017, 80% of instructional personnel will demonstrate evidence of coaching strategies as an instructional approach as measured by observational data.
14. By 2017, 80% of instructional personnel will demonstrate evidence of student engagement strategies as measured by observational data, reflecting appropriate social emotional development of students by grade level.
15. By June 2017, all students will have access to rich digital resources and curriculum to address their learning needs in formats according to their personal learning styles and interests as measured by usage statistics.
16. By June 2017, the federal graduation rate for the district will increase to 92%.
17. By June 2017, 80% of students will be on track to graduation at all levels (elementary, middle and high) throughout the district as measured by the Early Warning System (EWS).