Lindsay Unified cashing in on Race to the Top funds

December 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Lindsay Unified beat out hundreds of other districts nation-wide to win $10 million in federal grant money.

Instruction at Lindsay Unified classrooms might not be what you'd expect from a typical learning institution.

Amalia Lopez said, "This is a huge step over traditional because you leave no one behind, it's just a matter of what pace a kid needs to learn at, how they learn and what evidence they need to provide their knowledge."

Students in a high school classroom are learning, but all at their own level. And the accelerated students teach those who are struggling.

Sarena McDaniel said, "Wherever we all see our scores and see they're so much farther ahead, I can do that too. It motivates us all to work harder."

Student performance-based learning is an innovative system that Lindsay Unified adopted several years ago. And on Tuesday, the federal government recognized the district's approach with a $10 million grant.

Thomas Rooney said, "This is absolutely a game changer, for how quickly we can develop and refine a performance-base system."

Lindsay Unified was one of 16 applicants Awarded Race to the Top funds. The grant supports classroom level reform efforts that encourage transformative change within schools. And district officials say they're on the track to doing just that, both in, and outside the classroom.

Rooney added, "Digital learning blows the walls off the classroom and makes learning 24/7, makes learning happen wherever you want."

About half of all high school students have netbooks as part of its digital learning platform. With the money, the district now plans on expanding the program to give every student access to information, right at their fingertips, as well as hire more staff.

Lopez said, "What we've been doing works and the money coming in from Race to the Top will just help us improve the system even more so than it already has."

The funds from Race to the Top will start coming in this January and be used over the next four years.

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