Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Ashley King works on a drafting exercise on technology in the classroom during Cathy Seguin’s language arts class at Osborne Middle School on Thursday. The exercise is in preparation for the upcoming state writing assessment that all eighth-graders must take. Last year, Osborne Middle had the highest writing scores on the assessment.
Panama City-- Six school districts in our area have been awarded large grants.
Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Washington, Jackson and Bay Counties have all qualified for Race to the Top money.
After a year of hard work and a seemingly endless trail of paper work, Bay County educators are celebrating news they received more than 3 million dollars in Race to the Top money.
"They have been putting a lot of time and effort and everything into this and so we're finally to the point where ok, phew! We've been granted this money. Now we need to finish the plan and so we're full steam ahead finishing the plan and we think in the next 3-5 years we're going to be able to do some good with that grant money," said Superintendent of Bay District Schools, Bill Husfelt.
The federal initiative funds programs that improve the lowest performing schools, recognize and reward highly effective teachers and increase the academic achievement of all students.
"It deals a lot with assessment. It deals with looking at teachers and principals and seeing that, are they affective with what they're doing? If they're not, how can we help them? It's very data driven," said Husfelt.
There are strict federal guidelines on how school districts can use the money. Husfelt says most will go to data collection and test development, as well as implementing an evaluation system for teacher and principal performance.
"Race to the Top involves helping teachers become better instructional leaders in the classroom and verifying that they are doing what we say they're doing," said Husfelt.
Florida received a total of 700 million dollars in Race to the Top grant money. Half will go to qualified school districts. The other half will fund statewide programs.