A team of leaders from the U.S. Department of Education's Implementation and Support Unit (ISU) met with representatives from the D.C.'s Race to the Top team today for an on-site program review.
The state team is executing the D.C.'s nearly $75 million Race to the Top grant, awarded by the Department in August 2010 to support the state's comprehensive education reform plan to enhance and elevate student achievement. During the visit, ISU officials -- Director Ann Whalen, Race to the Top Program Lead Meredith Farace, and Race to the Top Program Officers Rachel Vessey and Bridget Kelly -- assessed the D.C.'s progress toward implementing and achieving the goals described in their plan, as well as identified areas where the Department can provide support and technical assistance.
The on-site program review is one of several steps in an ongoing review process coordinated by the Department and the state teams implementing Race to the Top plans. The process includes ongoing conversations between the Department and grantees, on-site program reviews, and grantee self-evaluations. In addition to on-site reviews, the process includes meetings where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Department leaders and state leaders discuss progress and challenges.
Last year, the Department of Education awarded $4 billion in grants to support bold plans to reform education in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The Department created the ISU team to support Race to the Top states as they do the tough work of reforming their schools. Today's visit to the D.C. focuses on its progress in building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale-up, and sustain proposed plans, and the state's efforts to improve teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance.
"We are very excited about the challenging work that the D.C. and other Race to the Top grantees are doing," said Director Whalen. "We are working closely with each state to ensure that they're receiving the support they need to implement their plans and to create long-lasting reform that benefits students and transforms education across their state."
Over the next few months, teams from the ISU will conduct an on-site program review with each of the 12 Race to the Top grantees: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. In the fall, the Department will use the information gathered during the program review process to create state-by-state reports and a national performance review that will be posted on the Department's website.