Oklahoma City Public Schools will request more than $30 million from the U.S. Education Department through the ultracompetitive Race to the Top grant program.
Jackie Mania, innovative programs coordinator for the district, outlined the grant request for the Oklahoma City School Board at the board's meeting Monday night.
About 900 school districts nationwide are vying for about 20 grants worth up to $40 million each, Mania said.
The grants are designed to ratchet up personalized learning for students.
The district is requesting funds for five projects:
Expand the high school academy concept by adding new academies and hiring people to coordinate curriculum and internships. $10 million.
Create a Race to the Top district office with about five staff members to coordinate implementing the grant. $1.7 million.
Create a Professional Development Academy, a common place for all kinds of teacher and staff training. $2.9 million.
Give each student at the high school academies a laptop to use for the school year at school and at home. $13.6 million.
Use Edmodo, a web-based learning system, throughout the districts. $4.1 million.
Race to the Top is also open to smaller side projects. Mania said the district will apply for two:
Software for literacy instruction for English language learners. $1.9 million.
Hire eight graduation coaches to help the most at-risk students complete high school. $1.9 million.
The school board approved the grant Mania and her team put together.
The grant must be submitted by the Oct. 26.
Grant winners will be announced by the end of the year.
“I'm really proud of the team effort that came together with Race to the Top,” Superintendent Karl Springer said.
The board approved the preliminary design report for John W. Rex Elementary, the downtown charter school. The building will be about 79,000 square feet and can accommodate 500 students. The project was originally expected to cost $9 million. The new estimate is $14,250,000 — $12 million in public funding and $2,250,000 from private sources. Construction is expected to run from April through July 2014.
The board approved a contract with MetroTech for a dropout recovery and prevention program. Students will earn a diploma while learning trade skills. The program costs $500,000.
The board awarded several contracts, including: