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    Twenty-eight of Michigan's persistently lowest achieving schools were recently awarded $86 million in School Improvement Grants. The grants were appropriated for in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. There were 108 schools eligible for the grants, but only 84 of the eligible schools submitted applications. Schools will immediately receive the grants and begin implementing their improvement plans for the 2010-11 school year. Schools have three years to utilize the grants. .

    To be eligible for the grants, a school must be either a Tier I or II persistently low achieving school (PLA); Tier III schools were also eligible, but none were awarded grants because tier I and II schools were given precedence. Tier I schools are Title I schools, schools with a high composition of poor children, in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that are in the fifth percentile or lower among all Title I schools in improvement, corrective action or restructuring. A Title I high school may also be identified as Tier 1 if it has a graduation rate below 60% for the last three years. A Tier II school is similar to a Tier I school except it must be a secondary school and it is not receiving Title I funding.

    In addition to being either Tier I or II, a school was also required to submit a proposal elucidating the school's improvement plan. Schools were required to select a federally-mandated school intervention model. Failure to comply with this requirement resulted in an invalid proposal. There are four models from which schools could choose: the turnaround model, transformational model, restart model, or school closure. The turnaround model requires a school to replace the principal, replace at least half of the teachers, adopt a new governance structure, and implement a new or revised curriculum. The transformational model requires a school to replace the principal, implement comprehensive curriculum reform, offer professional development, extend learning time, and similar measures. The restart model requires a school to close and reopen under the management of a charter school operator or an education management organization; students that attended the school must be re-enrolled. The school-closure model requires a district to close the school and place the students in higher-achieving schools.

    The grants were awarded primarily on the quality of the school's proposal; however, other ancillary factors, such as a school's percent of students proficient, showing improvement, and in poverty, were considered in awarding the grants. An example of a winning proposal was Grant High School's proposal. The school, which is located in the Grant Public School District, selected the transformational model; because its principal has been on the job for less than two years, the school is not required to replace him. Its proposal includes measures to increase teacher development and to hire a coach that will work with math and English teachers in curriculum development and assessment of student performance. A novel measure in the school's proposal is to extend the school year for at-risk freshmen. The school may also utilize a portion of the money to fund pre- and post-school activities.

    While 56 applications were rejected, those schools can apply for the second, smaller round of funding. Michigan received $115 million total in first-round funds; however, federal rules stipulated that only $86 million was available for immediate grants. The remaining $29 million will be awarded in Autumn 2010. Schools that were eligible for the first round of grants that did not submit an application are also eligible for the second round of funding.

    The following table displays the 28 schools awarded the grants, their respective school district, and the amount awarded.

    District
    School Building
    Amount Awarded
    Adrian City School District
    Adrian High School
    $ 2,750,221.00
    Buchanan Community Schools
    Buchanan High School
    $ 1,947,250.00
    Buena Vista School District
    Buena Vista High School
    $ 2,496,572.00
    Detroit City School District
    Phoenix Elementary
    $ 1,824,980.00
    Detroit City School District
    Southwestern High School
    $ 3,039,952.00
    Detroit City School District
    Nolan Elementary School
    $ 2,734,961.00
    Detroit City School District
    White Elementary School
    $ 2,764,192.00
    Detroit City School District
    Lessenger Elementary-Middle School
    $ 3,340,988.00
    Detroit City School District
    Farwell Middle School
    $ 1,355,741.00
    Fitzgerald Public Schools
    Fitzgerald Senior High School
    $ 1,014,461.00
    Godfrey-Lee Public Schools
    Lee High School
    $ 2,167,506.00
    Grand Rapids Public Schools
    Alger Middle School
    $ 4,918,511.00
    Grand Rapids Public Schools
    Westwood Middle School
    $ 4,918,511.00
    Grand Rapids Public Schools
    Gerald R. Ford Middle School
    $ 4,166,789.00
    Grand Rapids Public Schools
    Ottawa Hills High School
    $ 5,349,927.00
    Grand Rapids Public Schools
    Union High School
    $ 5,349,927.00
    Grant Public School District
    Grant High School
    $ 1,719,779.00
    Mt. Clemens Community Schools
    Mount Clemens High School
    $ 1,556,272.00
    Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools
    E.A. Johnson Memorial H.S.
    $ 1,562,309.00
    Oak Park City School District
    Oak Park High School
    $ 4,234,240.00
    Romulus Community Schools
    Romulus Middle School
    $ 5,328,664.00
    Saginaw City School District
    Arthur Hill High School
    $ 4,392,512.00
    Saginaw City School District Thompson Middle School
    $ 3,382,134.00
    School District of the City of Inkster
    Inkster High School
    $ 5,447,000.00
    Springport Public Schools
    Springport High School
    $ 1,596,160.00
    Van Dyke Public Schools
    Lincoln High School
    $ 1,037,843.00
    Waldron Area Schools
    Waldron Middle School
    $    605,500.00
    Weston Preparatory Academy
    Weston Preparatory Academy
    $ 1,756,080.00


    Sources:

    http://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/index.html

    http://www.mea.org/press/pdf/SIG_Funds_Awarded9-02-10.pdf

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/FAQ_-_SIG_9-02-10_331819_7.pdf

    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/SIG_Tier_Definitions_6-14-2010_324506_7.pdf

    http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2010/09/grant_high_school_lands_17_mil.html

     

     

     

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