IDEA and Harmony make high tech plans for Race to the Top grant money

As mentioned earlier this week, IDEA Public Schools and Harmony Public Schools won Race to the Top grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

A follow up story in the Express-News includes details about how the schools plan to use the grant money. “Schools spell out money plans”, Lindsay Kastner, San Antonio Express-News, December 12, 2012.

IDEA says it will use its $29 million grant to update its student data system and for blended learning:

IDEA plans to use its winnings of about $29 million to strengthen its “blended learning” program, in which students split time between a traditional classroom and computerized instruction, and to bolster its “high dosage” tutoring program, which [Tom] Torkelson called “the holy grail for putting those struggling students on a path toward college.”

Harmony also says it will use its $30 million grant for data system upgrades:

In addition, the charter operator will expand its pilot of a project-based learning curriculum that includes heavy emphasis on technology, said Julie Norton, its director of elementary curriculum.

Harmony also plans to implement a “custom day initiative” in which students will have two class periods per day to spend in electives or on either remedial or accelerated English and math coursework.

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