Six public school systems receive school improvement grant - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Six public school systems receive school improvement grant

Public schools in six systems are beneficiaries of $15,835,635 of School Improvement Grant Funds awarded to the Alabama Department of Education (ADE) by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).  To be eligible for the funding, the local education agencies (LEAs) were identified through the ADE 's definition of persistently lowest-achieving schools (Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III) as approved by the USDE.

A Tier I school is a Title I school with high poverty and high academic need. A Tier II school is a middle or high school with high poverty and high academic need that is not currently receiving Title I funds. Tier III schools are Title I schools identified by the state as being in School Improvement Year One and beyond, who did not qualify as a Tier I or Tier II school.

To be eligible, schools identified on the state's persistently lowest-achieving list completed rigorous applications that included a needs assessment, goals and strategies to fulfill specific goals, and a budget for the three year period of the grant. Schools were required to select one of four total school reform models to apply for funding. All of the models except the School Closure Model require the LEA to replace the current principal unless he/she has been at the school for two years or less.  Either the Transformation or Turnaround Model was chosen by all the LEAs that applied for total school reform funding. 

Besides principal replacement, the Transformation Model requires the LEA to implement a new teacher evaluation and principal evaluation system that is developed with the staff and factors in student achievement growth to reward staff that is increasing student outcomes. The schools must also implement strategies to recruit, place and retain high achieving staff; provide professional development; use data to inform and differentiate instruction; increase learning time for staff and students; provide social-emotion and community oriented services; and provide operating flexibility to the new principal. Additionally, the LEA central office staff must provide ongoing technical assistance to ensure a successful implementation of the model. 

The only difference between the two models is that the Turnaround Model does not require the implementation of a new teacher/principal evaluation system. Instead, the LEA must use locally adopted "turnaround" competencies to review and select staff with a maximum of 50% of the same staff being rehired.

The LEA and schools selected for this funding are:

  • Birmingham City – Whatley K-8
  • Bullock County – Bullock County HS and South Highlands MS
  • Dallas County – Southside HS and Brantley ES
  • Huntsville City – Westlawn MS and James I Dawson ES
  • Midfield City – Midfield HS
  • Tuscaloosa City – Central HS, ML King ES, and PW Bryant HS

For more information, contact Mrs. Ann Allison, Federal Programs at 334-242-8199 or via e-mail at aallison@alsde.edu.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama State Department of Education

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