A committee of Springdale teachers and staff formed a plan and sent an application. The process took months and on Tuesday (Dec. 17), the Springdale School District officials were told they won a Race to the Top grant award.
The $25.8 million award is the largest academic grant the school district has ever received. Five schools across the nation were awarded the U.S. Department of Education grant, Springdale was the only school district from Arkansas.
The application included plans to personalize student learning, increase teacher training and prepare students for success in college and careers.
"The goal is for our students not just to have a high school degree, but we are planning and putting the structure in place, so the youngsters have an opportunity to graduate from our school system with an associate's degree," Springdale Superintendent Jim Rollins said.
Around 21,000 students are in the Springdale School District with almost 70 percent living in poverty.
Specifically Springdale schools will add five Environmental and Spacial Technology labs and a personal computer in the hands of each student to use. Rollins said the improvements would come out in waves throughout the next three years.
"They've worked a lot of years at trying to have the quality of education in Springdale that you could get anywhere in the country," Springdale alumnus Robin Lundstrom said.
The department of education received more that 200 applications. Springdale was chosen as a finalist in last year's Race to the Top's grant application.