A recent U.S. Department of Education blog featured the Road Map Region’s focus on equity and rigor, and the important support received from Race to the Top. For example, the grant has helped support and fully implement Renton’s I.B. program, and been used to make PSAT/SAT tests free and available to all students during the school day. This has resulted in many more students taking college-going tests, particularly students of color.
In addition, districts are also looking at equity among their youngest learners. Recognizing that opportunity gaps can start even before children enter school, all seven districts have used Race to the Top funding to offer educational and school-readiness programming for children and their families before they begin kindergarten.
The districts have also leveraged the federal Race to the Top award to secure additional funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to analyze and improve how they are addressing racial equity as they work to meet the goals of the RTT-D grant. This additional funding has been used to inventory equity policies, practices and services, and provide teachers and principals with professional development focused on racial equity and cultural responsiveness.