The National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices has announced the first phase of grants to states for high school redesign under the new NGA Center for Best Practices Honor States Grant Program. The first phase of the grant program offers governors the opportunity to develop and begin to implement comprehensive state plans to improve high school graduation and college readiness rates. The grantees and award amounts will be determined by a selection committee that is independent of NGA and the NGA Center. To be eligible for an Honor States Grant, each state will be required to provide data and conduct a self-assessment related to the strategies outlined in NGA’s Action Agenda for Improving American High Schools. Applicants must have a plan to develop new accountability structures to ensure more students make it through the higher education pipeline and to make state education a seamless system from kindergarten through college. Successful grantees will have a plan for restoring value to the high school diploma; redesigning high schools; giving students the excellent teachers and principals they need; setting goals, measuring progress, and holding high schools and colleges accountable; and streamlining and improving education governance. Allowable grant expenses include paying for time and travel expenses for consultants and experts; producing relevant publications and online resources; and developing communications materials, including, for example, public service announcements that promote high school redesign to the general public. Grant funds cannot be used for lobbying or for purchasing equipment. States must match each dollar in grant funds with an equal amount of in-kind funds. Matching funds must be used to support the project and must be in addition to, and therefore supplement, funds that would be made available for the stated program otherwise. The NGA Center will award approximately 10 states grants in the range of $500,000 to $1,000,000 per year for two years. The grant period will be from August 2005 to July 2007.
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