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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 25, 2013
For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman, or Antonia Valentine
(518) 474-1201
www.nysed.gov

STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES $81 MILLION IN SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANTS TO SIX DISTRICTS TO SUPPORT TURNAROUND, RESTART AND TRANSFORMATION EFFORTS IN EIGHTEEN SCHOOLS

State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today announced that six school districts will receive nearly $81 million in the current round of federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) awards to support turnaround, restart and transformation efforts in eighteen schools. King said the Buffalo City School District will receive $22.5 million; the Poughkeepsie City School District will receive nearly $4.5 million; the Rochester City School District will receive nearly $4.5 million; the Syracuse City School District will receive $31.5 million; the Troy City School District will receive nearly $4.3 million; and the Yonkers City School District will receive $13.5 million. The school districts will use the grants to engage in dramatic and transformative whole-school change in their lowest performing schools. 

"SIG grants are an important piece of the Board of Regents Reform Agenda," New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said.  "Too many students are struggling in under-performing schools, denied a realistic chance at success. SIG awards are part of the Regents' statewide effort to prepare students for college and careers.  The grants are focused on improving chronically underperforming schools and raising graduation rates for at-risk student populations."

"Many English language learners, students with disabilities, and low-income students are in schools that need to change," King said.  "SIG grants can help give those students the chance to attend schools that are changing what’s happening in the classroom.  We’re trying to make sure that all students have the opportunity to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college and careers.  SIG grants are an important step toward the kind of whole-school change that will give those students that opportunity."

SIG awards are targeted to support the implementation of a whole-school change model in Priority Schools (Priority schools are among the lowest performing schools in the state based on combined ELA and math performance). Priority Schools, with the support of the larger district and school-community, have an opportunity to develop and implement a whole-school change model with the goal of achieving dramatic school-level achievement gains so that the school is in good academic standing within three years. To receive funding, districts with identified schools must implement one of the following prescribed intervention models:

  • TURNAROUND MODEL: Replace the principal and at least half the staff as part of the process of phasing out and replacing the school with a new school(s) or completely redesigning the school.
  • RESTART MODEL: Convert the school to a charter school, replace the school with a new charter school that will serve the students who would have attended the public school, or contract with an Educational Partner Organization (EPO), such as a local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), institution of higher education, or other non-profit partner organization as identified in Education Law 211-e, to govern and manage the Priority School and its implementation of the SIG plan.
  • TRANSFORMATION MODEL: Requires replacement of the principal, but without the requirement to replace at least half the staff. Rather, the implementation of approved Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plans would serve as the basis for rewarding effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers after ample professional development opportunities.
  • SCHOOL CLOSURE: Close the school and enroll the students in higher achieving schools in the district.

For example, the Syracuse City School District is expanding instructional learning time by one hour each day in its Turnaround schools (Porter Elementary, Van Duyn Elementary, Seymour Dual Language Academy, Bellevue Elementary and Frazer K-8 School). The Martin Luther King, Jr. School in Yonkers will be a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) school and prepare students in the STEAM disciplines and will also implement a new school calendar of September 1 to July 30 with an extended day schedule of 7:30 am- 4:30 pm.

Of the thirty applications received, eighteen schools are approved to receive SIG awards for the April 1, 2013 to August 31, 2016 project period. Below is a summary of the district awards:

DISTRICT
AWARD
SCHOOLS
MODEL

Buffalo

 

$4,500,000

School #31

Transformation

$4,500,000

School #80
Restart

$4,500,000

School #89
Transformation

$4,500,000

School #91
Transformation

$4,500,000

School #198
Transformation

Poughkeepsie

$4,499,887 Poughkeepsie Middle School Transformation
Rochester $4,499,078 School #17 Transformation
Syracuse

$4,500,000

Porter Elementary

Turnaround

$4,500,000

Westside Academy

Transformation

$4,500,000

Van Duyn Elementary

Turnaround

$4,500,000

Danforth Middle School

Transformation

$4,500,000

Bellevue Elementary

Turnaround

$4,500,000

Frazer K-8 School

Turnaround

$4,500,000 Seymour Dual Language Academy Turnaround
Troy $4,252,116 School #2 Transformation
Yonkers $4,500,000

Martin Luther King, Jr. School (PreK-8)

Turnaround
$4,500,000

School #13

Turnaround
$4,500,000 Enrico Fermi School for the Performing Arts Turnaround

This initial 2013 SIG RFP competition resulted in SIG awards totaling nearly $81 million. It’s anticipated that another RFP will soon be released for districts that were initially ineligible or competed the first time and did not receive awards. Information on that RFP will be posted at http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/rfp/ta-11/home.html.

SIG aligns with the New York’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver application that the U.S. Department of Education approved on May 29, 2012 (see
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/ESEAFlexibilityWaiver.html).

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New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

Last Updated: March 29, 2013