CONYERS -- Rockdale County Public Schools is hoping to earn some extra revenue in the Race to the Top.
The Rockdale County Board of Education approved a recommendation from RCPS Superintendent Samuel King to partner with the Governor's Office of Student Achievement to secure federal grant funds through the Race to the Top initiative. The GOSA asked RCPS to partner with it and several other school systems, something that wasn't offered to all districts in Georgia.
The initiative, which is still in review, will focus on four key issues to reform education. They are to develop, compensate and retain great teachers and leaders; adopt rigorous common standards and internationally benchmarked assessments; turn around the lowest achieving schools and use data to drive instruction.
"This fits right in line for things we already do and the things we envision" based on our strategic plan, RCPS chief academic officer Richard Autry said.
It also could provide between $100 million and $200 million to partnering districts in qualifying states.
"In these economic times, I think it's imperative that we are there," school board chairman Wales Barksdale said.
Similar to the time when the federal government implemented No Child Left Behind in 2001, this will affect school systems' accountability and provide common standards across the state and nation, with a focus on comparisons to international districts for competition in a global society, RCPS officials said.
Autry said the school system eventually will be involved in any reform efforts, so it's better to partner now and be informed from the beginning, rather than having others decide what RCPS will have to do anyway.
"This is coming, whether you like it or not, and we would like to be around the table to develop it so we can provide our input," Autry said.
He said this initiative probably will not be fully implemented for several more years.