Archive for the ‘Title I’ Category

The U.S. Department of Education has produced a series of videos that claim to demonstrate how several school districts have turned around low-performing schools by using the four models recommended by the U.S Department of Education’s $4 billion Title I School Improvement Grant program. The videos consist of interviews with school administrators, parents, teachers, and students discussing the dramatic changes in student achievement and overall school improvements. The five schools that the Department highlights in the videos are George Hall Elementary School in Mobile, Alabama, Pickett Middle School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hamilton County School District, Locke Senior High School in Los Angeles, California, Harvard School of Excellence and James Johnson Public School in Chicago, Illinois.

Funds for these school improvements are available through the Title I School Improvement Grant Program. Local school districts compete for the funds while classifying what they want to change, and then determining which of four models is most appropriate for their particular needs:

  • Transformation Model: Replace the principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.
  • Turnaround Model: Replace the principal, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers; adopt a new governance structure; and improve the school through curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.
  • Restart Model: Convert a school or close it and re-open it as a charter school or under an education management organization.
  • School Model: Close the school and send the students to higher-achieving schools in the district.

In total, 19 states have received School Improvement Grant funds in efforts to turnaround their lowest-performing schools. In spring 2010, $3.5 billion will be made available to states for school turnarounds. This is available through the Department of Education’s 2009 budget and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Watch the Title I School Improvement Grant videos and let NSSEA know your thoughts and for more information about the Title I School Improvement Grant Program, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html.

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Today, the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the final requirements for the $3.5 billion in Title I School Improvement grants established to turnaround under-performing schools.

States will compete for the funds by applying to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). In order to compete, states must identify the lowest-performing schools they want to transform. States must include schools that have ranked in the bottom five percent in student achievement and have graduation rates below 60 percent for a number of years. States will also have to choose between four different models to use as guidelines to structure their turnaround achievement programs.

 According to the final requirements, these models include the:

  • Turnaround model: States must replace the principal, rehire no more than 50 percent of the staff and grant the principal adequate operational flexibility.
  • Restart model: States have the option to convert a school or closing and reopening it under a charter school operator.
  • School closure: Ed requires states to close a school permanently and enrolling the students who attended that school in other schools in the (Local Education Agency) LEA that are achieving more.
  • Transformation model: States also have the option to implement a cluster of mandatory strategies for example, instituting comprehensive instructional reforms.

The U.S. Department of Education is now accepting applications and the deadline to submit an application is February 8, 2010.

For more information about the finalized requirements, visit: http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/12/12032009a.html and let NSSEA know your thoughts.

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The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee turned down efforts on Thursday to increase funding for the Teacher Incentive Fund by an extra $100 million but approved a bill that will be financing the U.S. Department of Education in fiscal year 2010.

The Teacher Incentive Fund is a teacher-performance-pay program that is currently getting $97 million in funding from the government.  President Obama requested the program receive $487 million for fiscal year 2010. The U.S. House of Representatives approved $445 million of President Obama’s budget for the TIF program. The Senate committee also approved $63.45 billion for the Education Department for fiscal year 2010.

If the extra 100 million had been approved by the senate committee, it would have been paid for through federal State Grants for Improving Teacher Quality program.

Changes to Title I

Title I grants to district were approved for more funding than President Obama first proposed. Senate approved $13.8 billion for Title I grants to districts which is a significant increase compared to the amount President Obama requested, $12.9 billion to be exact.  The program is going to experience a serious cut for this up-coming 2010 fiscal year compared to fiscal 2009. The program received $14.5 billion in 2009.

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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants to make sure that states  and districts understand how to apply for waivers that would allow them to use stimulus money linked together with Title I more freely, so the Department of Education has released a draft on Title I Guidance to State and School Districts.

The draft was released July 2009 in efforts to make progress with this reoccurring issue. The Title I Guidance to State and School Districts also gives tips on ways states can go about requesting waivers from the October 2008 Title I regulations.

Title I is a federal funded aid program that was implemented for disadvantaged students and it is the largest federal aid program for elementary and secondary students. Title I funds are directed towards the most disadvantaged school districts with high poverty schools. The program provides educational support and services to students who are at risk of failing to meet state standards because they have been educationally disadvantaged.  States, districts, and schools are all held accountable for implementing standard-based education through the Title I federal aid program.

For more information about Title I please visit www.ed.gov.

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