Districts hopeful second time's the charm for grant - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Districts hopeful second time's the charm for grant


Chippewa Valley (WQOW) - There's a team effort to bring home $30 million for area schools.

CESA-10 is a group of 28 school districts in west-central Wisconsin that's trying to work together to overcome some of the obstacles rural schools face.

Part of that challenge is individualized teaching and personalizing lessons for students with different abilities.

The CESA-10 group of 28 Western Wisconsin school districts applied for the $30 million race to the top grant last year and came up short.

"When it was announced that another round would be available this year, members of the consortium enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to apply again," says CESA-10 agency administrator Michael Haynes.

The districts say they need the money to help rural schools keep up with changing state and federal mandates.

"You need to have technology.  Both the teacher and the student has to have the technology to truly individualize the instruction," says Eleva-Strum superintendent Craig Semingson.

Technology is part of a new personalized approach to teaching that the group wants to see with all its members and the grant money would help purchase the materials.

"It'll help us go even further with the one to one, plus all of the other schools around us will have a one to one so we can do a lot of collaboration with the other schools," says Semingson.

"$30 million of federal money will help us do the work faster," says Haynes.

Some districts are slowly buying the technology and training on their own though because they want to better their students' education with or without the grant money.

"Every community has an opportunity to understand how personalizing learning will appear in their district," says Haynes.

"Here at Eleva-Strum we have already implemented a one to one technology program.  Every student either has an iPad or a MacBook," says Semingson.

But they'd like to see all districts using the one to one approach and are hoping everyone, including the community can work together to win funding in 2014.

CESA-10 and the districts need to submit their application for this years' Race to the Top grant by October 3rd and expect to receive results by late December.

Check out the latest on the grant application here.

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