New Mexico will receive a $12.5 million federal grant for its smallest
learners, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday.
The grant is part of the federal Race to the Top program, in which states compete for education grants that reward certain types of reform. This is in addition to a $25 million Race to the Top grant for early learning the state received last year.
The money will be used to create systems that track students' progress in preschool and provide them with support before elementary school. Specifically, it will be used to expand teacher training opportunities, create a student data system that different agencies can access and develop a kindergarten assessment process that will be consistent statewide.
Some of these programs have already begun, but opportunities for students are expected to dramatically increase in August, according to the news release.
Fourteen states received money through the "early learning challenge" portion of Race to the Top.
"These new dollars are incredibly helpful to our continued efforts to help New Mexico's youngest students," Martinez said in a news release. "These funds will be targeted in areas where they can produce the best results for our children by making sure they are better prepared for success in school. We want every child in our state reading on grade level by the third grade, and this award will help us to increase our focus on literacy in the early years."
New Mexico's grant application was a joint effort by the Public Education Department, the Children, Youth and Families Department, and the Department of Health.
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