A consortium of 22 Kentucky school districts is beginning the school year with new programs and supports funded by one of the largest federal Race to the Top grants recently awarded.

The school districts are part of the Ohio Valley Education Cooperative (OVEC) and the Green River Regional Education Cooperative (GRREC) that include central and northern regions of the state.

Officials say the $41 million will be used to pay for additional staff, including college and career counselors, teacher coaches and for professional development.

It will also fund the Leader in Me program, which was developed by the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey. The program focuses on “7 habits of highly effective people” and will be taught to students beginning in elementary school.

Kentucky educators anticipate the effects of the program to extend beyond the four-year grant, says Alicia Sells, director of innovation for consortium.

“What we’re looking for with this grant is to create not just transformational change for a short period of time but to really change the way we provide education in Kentucky,” she says.

Last year was the first time the U.S. Department of Education made Race to the Top grants available to school districts. Before it was available only to states.

The co-ops’ grant was among 372 applicants and 61 finalists. In December, USDE announced 16 grantees. The Kentucky school districts represent over 40 percent of the total number of districts that will split nearly $400 million.

Here’s the breakdown for how most of the grant will be spent:

  • $6.5 million for Leader in Me program for all of the 59,000 students
  • $7.8 million to employ 24 full-time College and Career Counselors and resources to support each high school and its feeder schools to work directly with students, parents, and teachers.
  • Up to $9.3 million funded cognitive coaches (based on 20 coaches ultimately expected to hire) who work directly supporting teachers
  • $2 million to employee 8 Preschool Pals – and materials for parents, child care providers to get children ready to attend school
  • $1.2 million provided to FRYSCs to reduce barriers to kindergarten readiness and college and career readiness
  • Over $2 million for PD in schools, including leadership training,  expert leadership coaching for administrators, teacher leaders, data retreats, DATA Focused Learning Communities, poverty, cognitive coaching, etc.
  • $850,000 for technology in schools
  • $1.3 million for PD stipends, substitutions over the four year period – if approved by USED

Here is a list of the school districts involved:

Adair County Schools

Campbellsville Independent Schools

Carroll County Schools

Caverna Independent Schools

Cloverport Independent Schools

Daviess County Schools

Green County Schools

Hart County Schools

Henry County Schools

Logan County Schools

Metcalfe County Schools

Monroe County Schools

Owen County Schools

Owensboro Independent Schools

Russell County Schools

Shelby County Schools

Simpson County Schools

Spencer County Schools

Taylor County Schools

Trimble County Schools

Union County Schools

West Point Independent Schools

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