First School Turnaround Grants Announced by Patrick-Murray Administration- Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

First School Turnaround Grants Announced by Patrick-Murray Administration

12 schools receive federal funding to implement school intervention strategies

MALDEN - In keeping with the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to closing the educational achievement gap, Governor Deval Patrick today announced that 12 schools in Boston, Chelsea and Springfield will receive more than $27 million in federal funding over the next three years to implement redesign plans aimed at dramatically improving student achievement. These grant awards are the first phase of federal support to help transform and improve underperforming schools.

Massachusetts has received a total of nearly $59 million for the federal School Redesign Implementation grant program, and expects to receive additional funding for future grant opportunities. Districts with the so-called "Level 4" schools were invited to participate in the competitive process. To apply, districts had to develop proposals detailing how they would use the funds to adopt and implement one of four federally developed redesign models to improve student learning.

"If every child is to have the same opportunity to learn and succeed, we must accelerate turnaround efforts in our lowest performing schools," said Governor Deval Patrick. "The grants awarded today will enable districts to take on the critical intervention work necessary to ensure that these schools have the resources and support to improve student achievement."

"School turnaround is hard, complicated work, and this funding will accelerate the improvement at some of our lowest performing schools," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "These grants represent a good next step in the turnaround process and the administration remains committed to supporting the efforts in these districts and additional efforts statewide."

A total of 16 eligible schools submitted complete applications, and following a comprehensive review process, 12 schools were selected for funding. Under the federal methodology, 100 schools were eligible, including 33 of the state's 35 Level 4 schools. Additional schools are expected to apply for the second round of funding in early winter, after they have submitted their School Turnaround plans to the Commissioner, as required by the landmark education reform law signed by Governor Patrick in January. Boston was able to use an expedited process allowed under this law to get their plans submitted early.

In all, the 12 schools selected in the first round serve more than 7,000 students - 88 percent are low income, 26 percent are limited English proficient and 20 percent are students with disabilities. Each school will adopt one of the four federally developed turnaround plans indicated in their proposal.

"I applaud the dedication and determination of the district leadership to these important reforms," said Secretary of Education Paul Reville. "This is urgent work, and the money awarded will help local leaders to identify the needs of these schools, design interventions, and improve and sustain student achievement and growth."

"Students in these schools are lagging in educational attainment and are losing ground compared to their peers statewide," said Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester. "The leadership of these schools has shown tremendous courage in embracing the changes that are needed to provide the kinds of learning environments that all of our students deserve."

The federal School Redesign Implementation grant was developed to provide strategies for turning around underperforming schools and improving student achievement and made available through Title I Section 1003(g) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Districts were eligible to apply for between $50,000 and $2 million per year for each eligible school. To qualify, each school is required to commit to implementing one of four federally developed intervention models and to demonstrate its capacity to do the work necessary to improve student achievement over the next three years.

Of the 12 schools selected for funding, seven will implement the federal Transformation model, which requires increased learning time and new evaluation systems for principals and teachers; the other five will implement the federal Turnaround model, which requires schools to replace at least half of the existing instructional staff. The schools receiving funding are:

  • Boston: Blackstone School, Turnaround: $2,399,107
  • Boston: Dearborn School, Transformation: $1,256,363
  • Boston: Elihu Greenwood School, Transformation: $1,380,269
  • Boston: The English High, Transformation: $2,830,101
  • Boston: Harbor School, Turnaround: $1,236,632
  • Boston: John F. Kennedy School,Transformation: $1,238,137
  • Boston: John P. Holland School, Transformation: $2,869,384
  • Boston: Orchard Gardens School, Turnaround: $3,728,029
  • Boston: Paul A. Dever School, Turnaround: $2,320,755
  • Boston: William Monroe Trotter, Turnaround: $1,559,728
  • Chelsea: Chelsea High School, Transformation: $2,761,183
  • Springfield: M. Marcus Kiley Middle School, Transformation: $2,260,000

Boston also applied for and will receive an additional $1,671,213 for administration costs. Chelsea and Springfield did not apply for additional funding to handle district administration costs.

"I have deep respect for the efforts and commitment of teachers and administrators in these schools, but we can do better," Commissioner Chester said. "The bottom line is that each of these schools can and should better by the students they serve. The kinds of changes necessary will be disruptive to the status quo, but need to be made."

Federal rules required the Department to retain at least 25 percent of the total funds available to ensure future opportunities for districts with low performing schools to apply. A second competitive grant opportunity will be available early next year for implementation in the 2011-2012 school year. Level 4 schools that do not win school turnaround grant funds for 2010-2011 will be eligible to apply for "bridge" grants of approximately $100,000 to support early implementation turnaround activities.

Additional information on the grant, including a list of eligible schools and a summary of the four required federal intervention models, is available on the Department's website.

Last Updated: August 12, 2010

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