Funding, Grants & Awards | News

North Carolina District Wins $30 Million To Provide Tablets to Middle School Students

A North Carolina school district will receive $30 million through a federal Race to the Top District grant. It plans to use the funding to provide tablets for its sixth- through eighth-grade students.

Guilford County Schools (GCS) is one of 16 nationwide recipients of the United States Department of Education's Race to the Top District grants. The district won $30 million, with grants in the amount of $400 million distributed in total.

The Guilford school district will use the funding to buy tablets for its 17,000 students in grades 6-8 at 24 middle schools, provide training to students, families, teachers, and principals, and hire additional technology coordinators.

"District data indicate that the rate of academic growth slows in middle school," according to a news release about the award. "The Race to the Top-District grant will allow GCS to focus a comprehensive strategy in grades six through eight, while building on reforms already put in place at the elementary and high school levels."

According to a summary of the Pace Schools Project on the district's Web site, "The tablet will 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 progress to deeper exploration can choose from enrichment experiences or accelerated learning activities that interest them."

"This technology, which will combine textbook information and Internet resources in one place, will literally put the world at our students' fingertips," said Superintendent Maurice Green.

GCS had a graduation rate of 84.5 percent in 2012--the highest of North Carolina's five largest districts--and students in the Class of 2012 received $139 million in college scholarships. "More than one-third of GCS schools have earned NC's top designations, based on student performance and other measures," according to information released by the district.

Guilford County Schools serves 72,000 students in 124 schools from Greensboro and High Point.

The district, which serves students from Greensboro and High Point, came in fourth place in the competition and will receive the second-largest grant among this year's recipients. The competition drew 372 applications from 1,193 districts, and the district was named one of 61 finalists in the contest on November 26.

For more information about Guilford County Schools, visit gcsnc.com. Go to ed.gov to learn more about the Race to the Top program.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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