This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Race to the Top

Beverly has joined with over 250 other Massachustts district, regional and charter schools in support of the state's participation in President Obama's Race to the Top program.

"Race to the Top" is a competitive $4.35 billion grant program launched by the Obama Administration to assist states in implementing aggressive education reform strategies to turn around low performing schools and support world-class teaching and learning. Approximately 40 states are expected to apply for the funding. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Massachusetts is eligible for approximately $250 million.

To participate, districts were required to submit an MOU [Memorandums of Understanding] signed by the superintendent, school committee chair, and union leader. If the state is awarded the grant in April, participating districts will have 90 days to submit work plans detailing how they will use their funding to implement four required activities: (1) Improve teacher and principal effectiveness; (2) Ensure effective teachers and leaders in every classroom; (3) Turn around the lowest achieving schools (only for districts with Level 4 or 5 schools under the state's new accountability system); and (4) Use data to improve instruction. Participating districts may also choose to implement two additional activities: Roll out a statewide P-12 teaching and learning system and increase college and career readiness.

The state's Race to the Top application focuses on four key initiatives:

  • Developing and retaining an effective, academically capable, diverse, and culturally competent educator workforce
  • Providing curricular and instructional resources that support teacher effectiveness and success for all students
  • Concentrating great instruction and supports for educators, students, and families in our lowest performing schools
  • Increasing our focus on college and career readiness for all students

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