Gwinnett gets Race to the Top grant

A program for at-risk Gwinnett County Public Schools students in eighth grade got a recent boost. It was named as one of 11 winners of state Innovation Fund grants.

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Targeted Education Program Academy is an accelerated coursework, mentoring and biotechnology research and development career pathway serving at-risk eighth grade students in Gwinnett County Public Schools.

The initiative works through a partnership with Gwinnett Technical College and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced on Wednesday 11 winners of Innovation Fund grants, a $19.4 million competitive grant program created through Georgia's Race to the Top Plan.

Through the grant, the state awards funds to partnerships between local education authorities or charter schools, institutions of higher education, businesses and nonprofit organizations that develop or implement innovative and high-impact programs aimed at producing positive outcomes for students.

"The Race to the Top Innovation Fund provides a unique opportunity for communities to collaborate and leverage their expertise to develop innovative solutions in education," said Gov. Nathan Deal. "We set the bar high in the first round, and applicants selected for round two awards rose to the challenge. These projects provide big scale potential for developing our greatest resource and ultimately ensuring Georgia's competitiveness."

Innovation Funds provide competitive grants for proposals that creatively leverage members' financial, human and intellectual resources to address student achievement, teacher effectiveness, teacher resources and developing or expanding charter schools.

For more information about the fund, visit www.opb.georgia.gov.