Officials examine Hawaii's Race to the Top progress

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A team of leaders from the U.S. Department of Education's Implementation and Support Unit (ISU) traveled to Honolulu yesterday for a two-day on-site program review with representatives from Hawaii's Race to the Top team. 

The state team is executing Hawaii's nearly $75 million Race to the Top grant, awarded by the Department in August 2010 to support the state's comprehensive education reform plan to enhance and elevate student achievement.

During the visit, ISU officials –Director Ann Whalen, Assistant Director Jim Butler, and Race to the Top Program Officer Melissa Siry– assessed Hawaii's progress toward implementing and achieving the goals described in their plan as well as identified areas where the Department can provide support and technical assistance. 

The on-site program review is one of several steps in an ongoing review process coordinated by the Department and the state teams implementing Race to the Top plans.

The process includes ongoing conversations between the Department and grantees, on-site program reviews, and grantee self-evaluations.

In addition to on-site reviews, the process includes meetings where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Department leaders and state leaders discuss progress and challenges. 

The visit to Honolulu focused on Hawaii's progress in building strong state-wide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans as well as the state's efforts to turn around its lowest achieving schools.

"We are very excited about the challenging work that Hawaii and other Race to the Top grantees are doing," said Director Whalen.

"We are working closely with each State to ensure that they're receiving the support they need to implement their plans and to create long-lasting reform that benefits students and transforms education across their State."

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