GCS Selected as Finalist for Federal Grant

Guilford County Schools (GCS) is one of 61 finalists across the country that will compete for a Race to the Top-District federal grant, announced by the U.S. Department of Education this week. The 61 finalists represent more than 200 school districts that were selected from 372 applications the Department of Education received.

The department will provide close to $400 million to fund personalized student learning in the classroom.


For GCS, the $30 million grant would create and stimulate student-led learning in the district's 24 middle schools. GCS' Personalized Achievement, Curriculum and Environment (PACE) Schools Project would serve all students in grades six through eight, setting the pace for 21st-century personalized learning across the district.

"The district sees grades six through eight as a critical time to challenge and support students to drive their own learning," said Dr. Terrence Young, chief information officer and leader of the PACE Schools Project. "Technology gives us a significant advantage to reach all students with excellent resources."

Student-led learning would be creative and active, with students moving away from the traditional textbook. Instead, the textbook would be replaced by educational software loaded onto individual tablet technology that students would use daily. The tablet would free students to work at their own pace, using personal learning "maps" on the tablets that show them how they're progressing toward mastering concepts. Students who need more time can have it without pressure; students ready to move to deeper exploration can choose from enrichment experiences or accelerated learning activities that interest them.

Twenty-two districts from North Carolina applied for the grant. GCS and Iredell-Statesville Schools are the only two N.C. proposals remaining in the competition. The Department of Education reported that 892 districts submitted optional intent to apply forms.

The Department of Education is expected to select 15 to 25 winning applications from the Race to the Top district competition for four-year awards that will range from $5 million to $40 million. Officials plan to announce the winners by the end of the year.