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The District Educators Council (DEC) agreed to join School District 65 Superintendent Hardy Murphy in signing a letter of intent to participate in the State’s “Phase 3 Implementation of Race to the Top.” In order to participate in the program, both the superintendent of a school district and the president of the district’s teachers union were required to sign the letter of intent. As a participant, District 65 has an opportunity to share in a $21.4 million federal grant that the State received in Race to the Top, phase three funds.

In the letter of intent, school districts agree to a comprehensive set of expectations designed to accelerate and sustain improved student outcomes. One of the requirements is that the teachers unions must agree to implement a teacher evaluation system on an expedited basis as provided under Illinois’ Performance Evaluation Reform Act.

“District 65 is well positioned for this project, being one of the only districts in the State to be in the third-year of a professional appraisal system that includes student growth as a component for professional evaluations,” said Superintendent Hardy Murphy. “Recent instructional improvement efforts, including a District writing initiative, the Board’s goals specific to college- and career-ready achievement expectations, and District 65’s recent revamp of curricular standards to match common core state standards are all among the reasons that we believe participating in the RTT Phase 3 implementation is a perfect fit for our District.”

An individual school district’s share in the $21.4 million grant will be calculated based on the total number of participating school districts and their relative share of Title I, Part A funding. Final figures are expected to be released by April 1.