25 SCHOOLS RECEIVE FEDERAL SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANTS
Twenty-five schools in 19 districts will share over $65.4 million in federal School Improvement Grant funding over the next three years to improve student achievement. The schools received the grants based on a formula that identified the bottom 5 percent of the state's consistently lowest-achieving schools according to state testing and, for high schools, a graduation rate of less than 60 percent. In addition, selected schools had to be Title I or Title I-eligible. In Title I schools, at least 40 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged. Alternative schools were included in the selection process according to federal requirements.
Fourteen of the selected schools serve at-risk middle and/or high school students in an alternative educational environment designed to be smaller and to increase opportunities for success over more traditional school settings. In addition, two elementary schools, one traditional middle school, and eight traditional high schools were selected.
State Superintendent June Atkinson said, "These schools serve some of our most vulnerable students, and they have been challenged to show the progress needed to ensure that students graduate with the 21st century skills to succeed. We are excited to see how this kind of intervention can make a difference in schools where a large percentage of the students are economically disadvantaged, or where many of the students have disabilities, or are at an increased risk for dropping out."
In order to apply for a School Improvement Grant, schools had to select from federally-defined intervention models with a commitment to begin implementation in the 2010-11 school year. Six of the schools will be implementing a Turnaround Model, 18 will be implementing a Transformation Model, and one will be Restarting.
The Turnaround Model includes replacing the principal and rehiring no more than 50 percent of the staff, implementing strategies to recruit and retain staff, adopting a new governance structure, and increasing learning time.
The Transformation Model includes replacing the principal and removing teachers determined to be ineffective after ample opportunity for improvement is provided, instituting comprehensive instructional reform strategies, increasing learning time and creating community-oriented schools, and providing operational flexibility and sustained support.
The Restart Model involves converting the school or closing and reopening it under a charter management organization or an education management organization and enrolling any former student who wishes to attend.
The following districts will receive grant funds. The model the districts will employ in its schools is noted along with the school(s) and the grant total:
- Anson County Schools (Anson Challenge Academy), $2,436,215, Restart Model
- Brunwick County Schools (Brunswick County Academy), $1,996,081, Transformation Model
- Buncombe County Schools (Buncombe Community-East School), $2,330,198, Turnaround Model
- Burke County Schools (Burke Alternative School –West), $980,896, Transformation Model
- Cumberland County Schools (Walker-Spivey School), $1,906,662, Transformation Model
- Davidson County Schools (Davidson County Extended Day School), $2,069,211, Transformation Model
- Durham Public Schools (Durham's Performance Learning Center), $1,996,153, Transformation Model
- Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools (Kennedy Learning Center, Petree Elementary School), $2,084,108/$2,704,108, Transformation Model/Turnaround Model respectively
- Gaston County Schools (Warlick Learning Community Middle/High School), $2,312,198, Turnaround Model
- Guilford County Schools (Oak Hill Elementary School), $2,864,207, Turnaround Model
- Halifax County Schools (Enfield Middle School, Southeast Halifax High School), $2,083,148/$2,909,148, Transformation Model
- Hickory City Schools (Catawba Valley High School), $2,270,207, Turnaround Model
- Jackson County Schools (Jackson County School of Alternative Education), $2,036,206, Transformation Model
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (E.E. Waddell High School, West Mecklenburg High School), $3,666,133/$4,644,698, Transformation Model
- Nash-Rocky Mount Schools (W.L. Greene Alternative School), $1,788,099, Transformation Model
- Pitt County Schools (Farmville Central High School, North Pitt High School, South Central High School), $2,286,400/$2,614,000/$3,269,200, Transformation Model
- Public Schools of Robeson County (Fairmont High School, Lumberton Senior High School), $3,136,117/$6,000,000, Transformation Model
- Rowan-Salisbury Schools (Henderson Independent High School), $2,164,198, Turnaround Model
- Wayne County Schools (Goldsboro High School), $2,886,144, Transformation Model
Each district must annually report on the progress its school(s) is making toward meeting its goals. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will review the school's progress to determine if the district's School Improvement Grant should be renewed. The federal funds were awarded by formula to states, which then made competitive grants available to school districts. The expected reforms are large in scale and the money can in no way be used to fill in state revenue holes. For more information, please contact the NCDPI's Communications division at 919.807.3450.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.