Academic Achievement
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Two Charter Schools Program Competitions Announced

Last year, when the Department announced 20 grants awarded for the Charter Schools Program (CSP) Non-SEA program competitions, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said; "High-quality charter schools across the country are making amazing differences in our children's lives. These grantees serve a range of students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and prepare them for college and careers." The Non-SEA (State education agency) competitions provide support for charter schools located in states that are not receiving funds from the CSP's SEA competition; currently 19 States and the District of Columbia receive SEA funding. Non-SEA grant funds support planning and implementation of program designs for new or existing charter schools or the sharing and dissemination of information about best practices for charter schools.

Last week, CSP announced the start of the 2013 competition with the publication of two Non-SEA notices inviting applicants (NIA) in the Federal Register. Since its inception, CSP has worked to increase understanding of charter schools and to support high-quality charter schools in communities nationwide. The CSP team is excited for that work to continue this year with the non-SEA competitions. The Department plans to award up to $2 million to grantees of both the Non-SEA Planning, Program Design and Implementation and the Non-SEA Dissemination competitions, and estimates making between 10 and 14 awards.

Schools, Districts, and States Transform Seat-based Requirements into Competency-based Pathways to College- and Career-Readiness

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in addressing the "new normal" schools are facing – tight budget times that call for doing more with less and finding ways to innovate, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and accelerate reform – released promising practices last March to help states, districts, and schools meet this extraordinary challenge. The Department, in furthering the Secretary's efforts, offered a set of additional innovative approaches and best practices, Increasing Educational Productivity, last May.

Promise Neighborhoods Grantees Emphasize Early Learning as Key to Success

The five communities receiving 2011 Promise Neighborhoods (PN) implementation grants represent well America's geographic diversity, stretching from the hills of Appalachia to the shores of the San Francisco Bay. Among the core elements they have in common is a strong commitment to early learning as a key ingredient for achieving their cradle-to-career goals.

In addition, 14 of the 15 PN planning grants announced by OII's Assistant Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton on behalf of the Obama Administration are also embracing the focused commitment to early learning. "Education is the one true path to opportunity and the American Dream," Shelton noted following the December 19th announcement in Minneapolis, and "the tremendous interest in early learning among Promise Neighborhoods is a testament to the recognition that the path begins in a student's earliest years."

2011 Promise Neighborhoods Grant Winners Announced

(December 19, 2011) Senior officials from the Obama Administration announced today that five organizations will receive the first round of Promise Neighborhoods implementation grants, and another 15 organizations will receive a second round of planning grants. Grantees, comprised of nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and an Indian tribe, will put school improvement at the center of local efforts to revitalize underserved neighborhoods.

Public-Private Partnerships Leveraging Resources for Student Success

Secretary Arne Duncan expressed appreciation for independent schools that are expanding educational opportunities for underserved public school students at ED’s Annual Private School Leadership Conference on September 28. Private Schools with Public Purpose (PSPP), a growing, nationwide initiative, offers “huge potential,” according to the Secretary, for improving achievement for high-need students. PSPP efforts, several of which were discussed during the conference session with Secretary Duncan, include private school-public-school collaborations that provide direct services to students, including summer-learning programs, as well as professional development for teachers. Read more about Secretary Duncan’s remarks and PSPP on the ED Blog.

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