MARTHA K. SEAGLE, STAFF WRITER
Lincoln County Schools Assistant Superintendent Elaine Boysworth recently updated the Board of Education on how the local district is using its portion of Race to the Top (RttT) grant funds.
North Carolina received $4 million in federal RttT funds. In North Carolina, this initiative is known as â€œCareer and College: Â Ready, Set, Go!â€ The goals of the program include increasing student graduation rates, ensuring students are better prepared for college and ensuring graduates have the skills needed for careers in todayâ€™s economy.
The grant funds are used to support the work of existing educators through professional development, use of technology and improving standards and assessments.
Lincoln County applied for and received a district grant, which is allocated from the State of North Carolina funds. The districtâ€™s available funds from the grant amount to $855,000. These funds will be distributed over a four-year period to support local initiatives aligned to the state goals.
Boysworth reported that the three major areas using the grant funds over the four year period are improved technology, professional development, and teacher and principal effectiveness.
For 2011-12, the allocated funds will be used primarily for professional development of teachers, staff and principals. This focus area was chosen due to the implementation of new curriculum and new assessment systems mandated by the state.
As reported in earlier editions of the Lincoln Times-News, the state legislature added five student school days to the academic calendar beginning with the current school year.
Along with many other counties in the state, Lincoln County applied for and received a waiver allowing them to delay implementation of the five additional teaching days until 2012. Â Under the approved waiver, the district must use the five days as mandatory professional development days.
Boysworth said that the central office staffs, along with teaching staff and administrators of each school, are working diligently to develop meaningful professional development activities for the designated development days, centered on implementation of the â€œCommon Core (curriculum) and Essential Standards.â€
The first development day is Monday, with spring session dates planned for Jan. 3, Jan. 24, Feb. 20 and March 30.