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Baltimore County school system intends to spend Race to the Top money on technology

Baltimore County school leaders are proposing to spend about half of their $17.4 million in Race to the Top money on technology and increasing the number of Teach for America teachers.

In a presentation to the county school board this week, educators said they want to use the funds to pay for $5 million in data systems, including a virtual learning center at Chesapeake High School and developing a virtual high school and games. Another portion of that $5 million would go to developing data systems to track students' performance and to a site now under development that teachers can use to gather curriculum information and individual student data.

The school system also plans to spend $1 million on curriculum development, $2 million on turning around low-performing schools and $1.6 million on a Towson University exchange program that would put faculty in classrooms to mentor first-year teachers, according to Donald Peccia, head of human resources for the school district. Peccia also said the funds would go toward creating a video software system that would let first-year teachers tape themselves in the classroom so they can learn how to improve their technique.

The school district will submit a proposal to the state in the next week for approval. The federal Race to the Top funds are intended to be used for long-term data tracking systems, to improve the quality of teaching and to turn around the worst schools.

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