U.S. Department of Education Announces First Teacher and School Leader Grant Competition

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The U. S. Department of Education is announcing today the first grant competition under the Teacher and School Leader (TSL) program to provide funding for states, districts, and nonprofit organizations to support, train, and reward excellent teachers and school leaders. These efforts come as U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. visits the Connecticut State Educator Equity Lab today to discuss the importance of implementing state equity plans to ensure that low-income and minority children are served by effective, experienced teachers.

“This program will build on districts’ efforts underway to develop and reward talented educators and school leaders, and will provide educators new opportunities to contribute to their schools,” said Nadya Chinoy Dabby, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement. “Ensuring that our schools are dynamic, rigorous, and caring learning environments requires supporting our educators so they can do their very best.”

These grants will allow educators and school leaders to identify opportunities to improve their schools; create professional development and support systems that are tailored to educators’ individual needs; and help districts and schools attract and retain a diverse, effective workforce.

TSL, authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act, replaced the former Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) program, a $2 billion program that has funded similar efforts over the past 10 years. 2010 TIF grant recipient Prince William County Schools in Virginia was able to use their grant to increase educator collaboration, provide targeted professional development, and improve their teacher evaluation system. These efforts to develop and support educators led to significant increases in student achievement, particularly in math and science.

TSL grants will help innovative districts make similar changes to their educator support efforts, particularly for those educators serving high-need students. Enabling our highest-need students to learn from our most effective educators is critical to student success.

Applications for the FY 2017 TSL competition will open tomorrow, Dec. 20, 2016, and are due on March 24, 2017. President Obama requested $250 million under the FY 2017 budget request. Funding for the FY 2017 TSL competition is dependent upon future Congressional appropriations.