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Kanawha County out of the running for Race to the Top funds

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Schools was not among the school systems announced Monday by the U.S. Department of Education as finalists through the latest round of "Race to the Top" funding.

The department announced earlier in the year its intent to give out nearly $400 million to individual school systems; in the past, Race to the Top funding was distributed on a statewide basis.

Kanawha County submitted one of the 372 applications received for the funds. It wanted $25 million to help cover the costs for a countywide push to better prepare students for the workforce.

In an October presentation from Mark Milam, assistant superintendent for Kanawha County Schools, Milam outlined the 26 points the county could enact with the funds that would better prepare students for the workforce.

Those include the creation of a "soft skills curriculum"-stressing team work, timeliness, the importance of passing a drug test; increased opportunities for job shadowing and internships; and earning credit for practical experience during the school day.

"It's taking kids out of the classroom and into the real world and gaining insight," said Superintendent Ron Duerring during an October school board meeting.

In 2010, West Virginia also missed out on state-level Race to the Top funding. 

Kanawha County was one of eight applicants from West Virginia. Roane County Schools also applied, as did the Regional Education Service Agency comprised of Cabell, Lincoln, Mason Mingo and Wayne counties.

None of the West Virginia applications were among the 61 finalists.

A three-person review panel judged the strength of each application.

The U.S. Department of Education plans to eventually award 15 to 25 applicants between $5 million and $40 million apiece, according to the department release. Winner school systems will be notified by the end of the year.   Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or Follow him at


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