Hudson Valley News
12:12 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Orange County School District a “Race to the Top” federal grant winner

A school district in Orange County is one of 16 districts in the nation to receive a federal "Race To The Top" grant, as we hear in this report from Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.

Middletown City School District using tablet computers in the classroom.
Credit Middletown NY City School District

The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that 16 applicants – representing 55 school districts across 11 states and the District of Columbia – have won the 2012 Race to the Top-District competition. Launched in 2009, Race to the Top has inspired dramatic education reform nationwide. Middletown was the only school district in New York to receive money in this round of funding.

White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz  says the Obama administration has been deeply focused on the goal of ensuring that every child has access to a complete and competitive education.

Middletown has been described as a "high needs, high poverty" district - one that will share nearly $400 million in federal funding earmarked to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen learning, preparing every student to succeed in college and their careers.

Middletown Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Eastwood said he was "stunned" when he heard the news. Plans for using the grant money entail "research-proven initiatives" which include the introduction of a two-year kindergarten program to aid new students in the district who are deemed NOT "kindergarten-ready." Eastwood explains project programs will follow a student through his or her public school career.

Middletown will receive $19.9 million to implement its proposals, which will in time be shared in classrooms across the nation. Senator Chuck Schumer recommended Middletown for the grant.

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