Leaders from the U.S. Department of Education's Implementation and Support Unit (ISU) traveled to Delaware June 8-10 for an on-site program review with representatives from Delaware's Race to the Top team in Dover and district- and school-level teachers and leaders from the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District in Wilmington.
The state team is executing Delaware's nearly $120 million Race to the Top grant, awarded by the Department in March 2010 to support the state's comprehensive education reform plan to enhance and elevate student achievement. During the visit, ISU officialsRace to the Top Program Lead Meredith Farace and Race to the Top Program Officer Victoria Hammerassessed Delaware'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 also includes meetings where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and 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. This week's visit to Delaware included meetings at the Delaware Department of Education and the district office of the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District to learn how the federal grant has created momentum toward change.
"We are very excited about the challenging work that Delaware and other Race to the Top grantees are doing," said Program Lead Farace. "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.