18 Schools in 8 Districts Awarded Federal Funding to Implement School Turnaround Strategies
The competitive grant awards are the second round of federal support designated to spur strong improvement efforts in the Commonwealth's most struggling schools. Seventeen of the 18 schools receiving grants today are among the state's 35 lowest performing schools identified as underperforming ("Level 4") under An Act Relative to the Achievement Gap, the landmark education reform law signed by Governor Patrick in January 2010. Under the state's new accountability system, schools are classified as Level 1-5. In August 2010, 11 out of 12 grants awarded during the first round of funding also went to Level 4 schools in Boston and Springfield and a Level 3 school in Chelsea.
"Closing achievement gaps, particularly in our lowest performing schools, is difficult and challenging work," said Governor Deval Patrick. "The redesign grants awarded today will provide crucial support to these schools in ensuring that all students across the Commonwealth have the same opportunity to succeed."
"As part of our administration's education reform, we are committed to turning around our lowest performing schools," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "By partnering with our congressional delegation for these grants, we will continue to support intervention efforts for schools with the greatest need."
Massachusetts has received nearly $59 million for the federal School Improvement grant program, and expects to receive additional funding for future grant opportunities. Districts with "Level 4" underperforming schools were invited to participate in the second round of the competitive process. Many districts with Level 3 schools were also eligible to compete for the grants under federal guidelines.
"To be successful in turning around our hardest to reach schools, we must create the conditions that allow for accelerated improvement," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "The educators in the districts funded today have demonstrated great leadership in developing innovative and thoughtful redesign plans to drive student improvement."
"These valuable School Improvement funds will enhance the efforts to educators transform our underperforming schools," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "Students in these newly funded schools will access a new, more innovative education through a combination of advancing instructional practices and incorporating crucial health and human services into the school day."
A total of 82 schools were eligible to apply in the second round, 27 of which submitted complete applications. To apply, districts had to develop proposals detailing how they would use the funds to adopt and implement one of four federally funded redesign models to improve student learning: (1) the Transformation model, which requires increased learning time and new evaluation systems for principals and teachers; (2) the Turnaround model, which requires that at least 50 percent of the staff be new to the school; (3) the Restart model, in which an educational management or charter organization will assume primary responsibility for turning around the school; and (4) School closure.
Following a comprehensive review process that included face-to-face interviews with district and school officials and an assessment of their capacity to do the work necessary to improve student achievement over the next three years, the Department selected 18 schools for funding. Grant awards in this second round of competition average $1.5 million over three years and will commence in July 2011.
"These changes, while disruptive to the status quo, are necessary to better serve the students in these underperforming schools," said Chester.
The 18 schools awarded grants serve more than 9,000 students, of which 89 percent are low income, 30 percent are limited English proficient, and 20 percent are students with disabilities. The schools include 11 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 2 K-8 schools, and 2 high schools.
The federal School Redesign Grant program is made available through Title I Section 1003(g) and the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The following schools received funding in Round 2 (funding amounts are preliminary):
- Boston: Jeremiah E. Burke High School, Turnaround: $1,725,000
- Boston: UP Academy (formerly Patrick F. Gavin Middle), Restart: $1,500,000
- Fall River: John J. Doran, Transformation: $1,425,000
- Holyoke: Morgan Elementary, Transformation: $1,275,000
- Holyoke: Wm. J. Dean Vocational Technical High School, Restart: $1,650,000
- Lawrence: Arlington Elementary School, Transformation: $1,220,364
- Lowell: Charlotte M. Murkland Elementary, Transformation: $1,500,000
- Lynn: E J Harrington, Transformation: $1,133,610
- Springfield: Alfred G. Zanetti, Transformation: $1,483,285
- Springfield: Brightwood, Turnaround: $1,483,285
- Springfield: Chestnut Street Middle, Transformation: $1,733,285
- Springfield: Elias Brookings, Turnaround: $1,483,285
- Springfield: Gerena, Transformation: $1,800,000
- Springfield: Homer Street, Transformation: $1,483,285
- Springfield: John F. Kennedy Middle, Turnaround: $1,575,000
- Springfield: White Street, Turnaround: $1,483,285
- Worcester: Chandler Elementary Community, Transformation: $1,350,000
- Worcester: Union Hill School, Transformation: $1,200,000
Districts were eligible to apportion funds to district-level supports for their funded schools. The following districts received funding to support the implementation of their schools' redesign plans:
- Fall River: $41,363
- Holyoke: $264,216
- Lynn: $366,390
- Springfield: $161,748