OUR OPINION: Stay on the course in Race to the Top

By NEMS Daily Journal

The Tupelo and Corinth public school districts weren’t among the 16 applicants chosen for grants in the $400 million national Race to the Top academic competition but they are better off for having made a concerted effort to secure millions in federal funding for targeted key academic programs.
Five other Mississippi districts made the race, but none of them were selected, either.
Tupelo concentrated its application on expanded early childhood education, dual enrollment options at THS and more technology options.
Corinth had worked with the South Panola School District on plans calling for introduction of iPads into fourth through 12th-grade classrooms, and a distance learning program, which would have used advanced technology.
The winning applicants included three public charter schools, traditional districts and consortiums of districts; all were leaders in innovation.
Among the most interest generated in the region is $30 million awarded to Guilford (N.C.) County Schools, whose concentration focuses on individualized learning for its 17,000 students. Guilford County includes Greensboro, a city with industrial and business ties to Mississippi.
Superintendent of Guilford County Schools Maurice “Mo” Green said the funds will go a long way in making sure the school district can personalize learning and improve educational outcomes for every student, a Greensboro television station reported. North Carolina, which has a long record of school improvement, has won about $400 million since Race to the Top began. School officials said they will use the funds to implement Personalized Achievement, Curriculum and Environment Schools Project, which will accelerate 21st century personalized learning across county schools.
The special focus, methods and results of all the successful districts are open record. Schools like Tupelo, Corinth and others might find that extra edge needed to achieve the top in examining in detail, even emulating, what the 2012 winners did.
Standard public schools can succeed when invested with the best resources and minds.

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