Philly schools seek federal money got hi-tech learning

Posted: November 07, 2012

IMAGINE A PHILADELPHIA School District with kindergarten students creating stories on smart tables with technical capacities similar to that of an iPad.

If the U.S. Department of Education chooses the school district to be the recipient of a Race to the Top grant, then such scenes would become reality under a proposal submitted by the district on Friday.

The winners of the competition, which aims to personalize education, close achievement gaps and use the latest technology to prepare students for college and jobs, will be announced in December.

Fran Newberg, deputy chief of curriculum assessment and educational technology for the district, said the proposal asks for $40 million to cover 25,000 to 30,000 students, or about 20 percent of the district's population. It would last four years and would cover five to 10 high schools and 25 to 30 elementary schools.

The proposal - which has the support of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the principals' union Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, and the Home and School Council - focuses on intensive literacy between kindergarten and third grade and increased science, math and reading proficiency, Newberg said.

If Philadelphia gets the funds, there would be a three-to-six-month planning process, and Newberg expects the system would be be operational by summer.


Contact Regina Medina at medinar@phillynews.com or 215-854-5985. Follow her on Twitter @ReginaMedina.

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