Evergreen Solutions was selected by the Florida Department of Education to evaluate the state’s $700 million Race to the Top (RTTT) grant program, including all 50 state-level RTTT projects. The national Race to the Top grant program was announced in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Race to the Top aimed to raise student achievement by focusing all initiatives on eight specific national reform criteria, including:
1. Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments
2. Accessing and using state data
3. Using data to improve instruction
4. Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance
5. Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals
6. Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs
7. Providing effective support to teachers and principals
8. Turning around the lowest-achieving schools
In late 2010, the United States Department of Education announced that Florida, along with ten other states, would be the recipient of Race to the Top grant funds. The Florida Department of Education executed the state’s Race to the Top grant program through a series of 14 local education agency (LEA) projects and 50 state-level projects, which each fell under one of the eight national reform criteria. In Florida, 62 school districts participated in the state’s Race to the Top grant program. Evergreen Solutions worked with state leaders to implement a comprehensive evaluation plan of Florida’s Race to the Top program to measure success of the 50 state-level projects as well as the state’s oversight and support of the 14 LEA projects.
In August 2011, prior to being selected as the state’s Race to the Top grant evaluator, Evergreen was selected to design the evaluation work plan for Florida’s Race to the Top program. The evaluation work plan included specific yet adaptive evaluation tasks that ensured all 50 state-level projects were conducted efficiently and effectively, and with fidelity to the state’s original scope of work. Evergreen’s work plan for the evaluation of Florida’s Race to the Top program included 17 work tasks, 139 task activities, and 87 unique deliverables. These activities included data collection and analysis, interviews, focus groups, surveys, and onsite visits as well as formative evaluation activities was conducted throughout the remaining three years of the grant program and summative evaluation tasks were completed at the end of the state’s four year Race to the Top grant program. Grant evaluation teams were organized around each of the eight national reform criteria and to ensure that success was measured and reported for all of the 50 state-level projects.
Following finalization of the Race to the Top evaluation work plan, Evergreen Solutions was selected in November 2011 by the Florida Department of Education to lead implementation of the Race to the Top evaluation work plan. Evergreen’s selected team of evaluators includes 19 subject matter experts who will work closely with the Florida Department of Education’s Race to the Top project team to evaluate grant activity. Evergreen’s comprehensive information and data system will be used for reporting and data collection during the evaluation. Evergreen Solution’s evaluation of Race to the Top will conclude in June 2014 with a comprehensive report on Florida’s success in implementing the Race to the Top program.