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Seven Districts Receive State Grants to Implement Competency-based Learning

April 24, 2018

LANSING – Seven school districts are sharing $500,000 in state grants to use competency-based learning in classrooms – a key strategy to help prepare Michigan students for success, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced today.

“These grants will help drive the overall plan to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “I appreciate the foresight and initiative of the Governor and Legislature to make these competitive grants available to schools.”

The list of awardees, in alphabetical order, and their grants are:

School District Grant Amount

Alpena Public Schools

$ 50,000

Armada Area Schools

$ 48,775

FlexTech High School-Novi

$ 81,428

Fraser Public Schools

$ 59,692

Kenowa Hills Public Schools


Schoolcraft Community Schools

$ 60,841

Tecumseh Public Schools

$ 51,714

Competency-based learning was one of the recommendations in Governor Rick Snyder’s 21st Century Education Report and included in the state’s plan to make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years.

Competency-based learning also is one of the four pillars of the Governor’s Marshall Plan – a proposal to transform Michigan’s talent pipeline and redesign the ways it invests, develops and attracts talent. If the Marshall Plan is adopted by the Michigan Legislature, more grants to school districts may become available in the future.

Implementing these deeper-learning competencies is one strategy for a goal of improving classroom instruction and a child-centered instruction model where students meet their self-determined academic and personal goals to their highest potential.

Innovative competency-based learning is a personalized form of learning with more student-focused and customized instruction. It is designed to help students master key skills and concepts.

"Credits and grades are based on proficiency and content standards and skills rather than on participation, seat time, tests or homework alone,'' Sheila Alles, MDE’s Chief Deputy Superintendent, said in a recent podcast.

She said competency-based education confirms students have mastered the problem-solving, critical-thinking and communications skills that employers say they need.

The MDE received 18 applications requesting a total of $1.7 million in funding for these grants.

Independent review teams, consisting of internal and external reviewers, scored the grant applications. Successful applications demonstrate the most efficient and effective use of funding to supplement their efforts in adopting the competency-based model.

Visit for information about the Top 10 in 10 or the Marshall Plan.