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ERIC Number: ED530694
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb
Pages: 43
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The School Improvement Grant Rollout in America's Great City Schools: School Improvement Grants
Lachlan-Hache, Jonathon; Naik, Manish; Casserly, Michael
Council of the Great City Schools
The School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, initially enacted as part of the "No Child Left Behind" amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, underwent a substantial transformation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under the new program, states identified 2,172 persistently low-achieving schools nationally (Tier I and Tier II schools) and 12,947 low-achieving Tier III schools. The numbers of identified schools that were urban, poor, and enrolling high-minority populations were greater than national averages, and a high proportion of SIG-eligible schools were in districts that are members of the Council of the Great City Schools and were surveyed as part of this study. The "Round One" award process (grants that began in the 2010-11 school year) resulted in 831 Tier I and Tier II schools nationwide receiving awards for school improvement. The average grant award was $2.54 million across three years. Only 416 Tier III schools were awarded SIG funds, however, with an average award of $520,000. In Council districts, 298 Tier I and Tier II schools received an average award of $2.87 million (not including schools pursuing the closure model), and 91 Tier III schools received an average award of $366,000. Responses to the Council's survey also indicated that approximately one third of Tier I and II schools awarded SIG grants saw their three-year awards reduced by an average of $763,000 per school from the amounts for which they applied. Eighteen percent of Tier I and Tier II schools in responding districts that applied for SIG grants did not receive any funding. The most commonly used model nationwide among the four allowable options was the transformation model, which was used by 74 percent of SIG-awarded schools across the country. Some 20 percent of schools used the turnaround model. Survey responses from the Great City Schools indicated that only 54 percent of urban schools awarded SIG grants used the transformation model, while 36 percent of SIG-awarded schools used the turnaround model. Relatively few Great City Schools opted for the restart or closure models. The lack of timeliness in the first round of the SIG grants caused some problems for urban school districts pursuing reforms, according to survey responses. Some 26 percent of survey respondents indicated that award announcements were not made until after August, when the school year typically starts, and another 43 percent did not receive initial award announcements until July or August, after the regular Title I plans were due to the state and mere weeks before the beginning of the school year. For each of the six sample reform tasks listed in the survey, between 40 percent and 58 percent of respondents said they did not have "sufficient time to effectively plan and implement" each task. Information from the survey on previous school-turnaround efforts in urban schools suggest that most if not all of the components of the four turnaround models can be effective, although their configuration, timing, and implementation are key to successful reform work. The most common challenges to the school turnaround process involved removing ineffective teachers; facing community resistance to closing schools; recruiting high-quality, reform-oriented teachers for these challenging schools; and having adequate school-level and district-level resources in place to effectively bring about a school turnaround. The SIG program appears to be an important tool in helping districts address these issues, according to survey respondents. Appended are: (1) Tier I and Tier II Schools by District; (2) Partners in School Turnaround; and (3) Useful Tools and Resources on School Turnarounds. (Contains 18 tables, 10 figures and 11 footnotes.)
Council of the Great City Schools. 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 702, Washington, DC 20004. Tel: 202-393-2427; Fax: 202-393-2400; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: Council of the Great City Schools
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009; Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title I; No Child Left Behind Act 2001