GCS Receives Extra $5.2 Million in Grant Funding

As if receiving a record $30 million grant before the holidays wasn't enough reason to celebrate, Guilford County Schools (GCS) started the New Year with even more good news. The district will receive another $5.2 million in optional grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, bringing the total Race to the Top-District (RTTT-D) grant award to $35,222,003.

The additional funds will support GCS' personalized learning initiative in middle schools, which was the focus of its winning RTTT-D grant. The optional grant awards include $1,995,065 for Guilford Parent Academy, $1,656,307 for the African-American Male Achievement Initiative and $1,570,646 for a GCS Virtual Public Middle School.

"Our vision is to personalize and digitalize learning for all GCS students, staff, parents and community volunteers," said Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green. "These additional grant awards represent a significant step forward in this process."

The additional funds for Guilford Parent Academy will purchase 10 tablet devices per middle school for check-out and use by parents to assist children with homework or advance their own learning. The funds will also purchase online and broadcast content that parents, students, teachers and community volunteers can access to boost learning.

Funding for the African-American Male Achievement Initiative will support professional learning communities focused on raising the academic achievement of targeted students. The goal is to have school teams in six elementary schools address systemic school and classroom barriers - such as low expectations, limited time for planning and collaboration, or lack of culturally relevant curriculum - that limit educator effectiveness and student learning.

The proposed Virtual Middle School initially would serve grades six and seven, and then expand to the eighth grade after one year. Student recruitment efforts would target students who would be the first in their families to attend college, while providing an additional school choice for middle school families.

"GCS is on the move, and I'm pleased that the hard work and dedication of so many has been recognized yet again by the U.S. Department of Education," said Dr. Terrence Young, the district's chief information officer. Young led the district grant team that secured the RTTT-D and optional budget funds.