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D.C. Schools Applying For $10M In Innovation Grants

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The D.C. school system is offering $10 million in grants to low performing schools. 
Rosa Say (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosasay/4768778416/)
The D.C. school system is offering $10 million in grants to low performing schools. 

Several D.C. Public School principals are applying for grants of up to $400,000 under a new program called Proving What's Possible.  DCPS has set aside a $10 million pot of money for schools with the "most compelling plans" to improve student results.

"A $10 million commitment tells schools we are serious about them doing big things," says Chancellor Kaya Henderson. 

Some principals have applied for grants where, for example, highly effective teachers are willing to teach larger classes for more money. Some principals want to try hybrid learning models that blend technology with traditional teaching. Others want to try longer school days.

DCPS is also hoping to partner with some charter schools such as Rocketship Education and KIPP that use these models successfully so principals can get guidance on what works best, according to Henderson. 

This way, DCPS is trying a different way to "incentivize innovation," she says, "as opposed to continuing to just dole out funds, for things that that some are invested in, some are not, some provide results, some don't." 

The money has been moved from existing programs, according to Henderson. Most of the money will fund programs at 40 of D.C.'s lowest performing schools. Decisions are expected to be made by June 1.

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