Galt elementary district lands $10 million federal award

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

Galt Joint Union Elementary School District will soon have $10 million more to teach children.

The district was one of 16 nationwide to win the latest round of federal Race to the Top money, the U.S. Department of Education said Tuesday.

"It's a historic day in our school system and our community," said Karen Schauer, district superintendent. "There is a deep commitment to our community and our youth, and it all came together in this grant."

The Galt award will be used to to personalize learning for the district's 3,972 students, which include a large number of English language learners, special education and low-income students, Schauer said earlier this month.

The program laid out by Galt school officials in its 400-page-plus application includes learning centers at school libraries and evaluations of teachers, principals and the superintendent, Schauer said.

"Galt Joint Union Elementary School District has established a comprehensive, high-quality reform vision built on professional development, teacher and leader effectiveness evaluation system, assessment and the use of the Common Core State Standards," said a federal official who reviewed the application. "… The focus on community involvement with service learning projects and the use of community resources is notable."

The influx of money, which will be issued over four years, will have a huge impact on the district, Schauer said. The district had a $29 million budget this school year.

The Galt award is part of nearly $400 million that the U.S. government is granting to school districts that have developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, improve student achievement, close achievement gaps and prepare students to succeed in college and their careers, according to federal officials.

Schauer said district officials were excited to see the requirements for the grant, as it outlined almost exactly the direction in which Galt Joint Union was already headed.

"Districts have been hungry to drive reform at the local level, and now these winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a prepared statement.

Lindsay Unified School District in Tulare County and New Haven Unified School District in the Bay Area were the only other California school districts to win Race to the Top–District awards.

Galt Joint Union Elementary School District's application was selected from 372 submitted in November. Earlier this month the number was whittled down to 61 finalists.

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Read more articles by Diana Lambert

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