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Press Release: MD's Race To The Top Continues

New Report Chronicles Grant Work That Set Foundation For Growth And Progress

For Immediate Release                                                      Contact: William Reinhard, 410.767.0486

Baltimore, MD (September 17, 2014)

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) today released a report on the return on investment from its federal Race to the Top grant. Maryland is recognized as a national leader in education, and continues to seek ways to do more for students and educators. The report, “Reaching World Class: Maryland’s Race to the Top Accomplishments” is intended to describe the foundation for student achievement growth that was constructed with grant support. It is posted to the MSDE home page and being shared with all stakeholders.

“It is with great pride that I share the Maryland State Department of Education’s report on the return on investment from the federal Race to the Top grant. No state has invested as much, or as wisely, in education as Maryland, due in large part to our visionary Governor, Martin O’Malley, and General Assembly,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian M. Lowery. “We are preparing world class students to meet the needs of local employers and compete in a global economy. Maryland used the grant to make improvements that will enhance teaching and accelerate learning for generations.”

When President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a new $4.35 billion competitive grant program – Race to the Top (RTTT) – on July 24, 2009, Maryland chose to compete and win support for its plan to accelerate innovation and improvement in its schools. Today, the state can be proud of its schools, educators, and students for the achievements they made with support from Maryland’s $250 million RTTT grant.

Maryland committed to preparing world-class students with more rigorous standards, meaningful assessment, continuous support for educators, and began to turn around its lowest-achieving schools. Maryland continues to be a leader in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, having been the first state in the nation to set specific STEM education standards that not only define what makes a STEM proficient student, but also help guide teachers’ STEM instruction.

Maryland was awarded a Race to the Top grant on August 24, 2010, sparking some of the most creative education innovations in the State’s history. Twenty-two of Maryland’s 24 school systems signed on to the ambitious program.

Among the projects highlighted in the new report:

  • Building Better Standards and Assessments – Maryland adopted the Common Core State Standards and joined the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium in 2010.  The Common Core State Standards formed the foundation for Maryland's new State curriculum framework. Hundreds of classroom educators, instructional leaders, administrators, and higher education representatives continue to assist State officials in developing the new “Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards” framework to support implementation of these new standards.  Schools across the state implemented Maryland's College and Career-Ready Standards in 2013-14 after three years of professional development involving more than 7,000 educators.  New PARCC state assessments aligned to the more rigorous standards were piloted in nearly all Maryland schools last school year, and will be fully implemented in spring 2015.
  • Developing More Useful Data Systems – Maryland is building a more comprehensive student data system, providing educators with insight on student growth that can be put to immediate use in the classroom.  Educators and parents can put the data to use through a series of dashboards, which chart trends in performance and progress.  In addition, the State is developing a robust educator information system to track education, credentialing, and performance.
  • Improving Teachers and Leaders – Maryland, working with a variety of education organizations, developed a new evaluation system to improve professional development and growth opportunities for both teachers and principals.  The system takes measure of both professional practice and student achievement growth.  In addition, Maryland launched the Governor’s Promising Principal Pipeline and Leadership Initiative, which is helping to develop the next generation of school leaders through a year-long professional development program for promising principals.
  • Turning Around Low-Performing Schools – Maryland has provided additional support and intervention in the performance of chronically low achieving schools. With Race to the Top support, Maryland also provided intensive technical assistance that has led to improvements in attendance and climate.

Many of the programs launched with RTTT funding continue throughout this school year, thanks to a no-cost extension provided by the U.S. Department of Education.  Many of the initiatives supported by the grant will remain well after the federal funding is expended, having become part MSDE’s infrastructure.

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