News

For Immediate Release
July 23, 2013

Illinois State Board of Education awards $22 million in School Improvement Grants


State awards federal funds to reform four schools in three districts

SPRINGFIELD – Four schools in three Illinois school districts will launch comprehensive changes this fall as the latest schools in the state to earn federal School Improvement Grants worth $22 million. These new awardees join 20 schools in eight districts that are already undergoing similar overhauls with support of the federal grant and state resources.

“This grant will provide resources and staff to help develop some sustainable systems and processes to help implement student voice, a wide range of student activities as well as parent leadership activities and ultimately, improve student achievement in math and literacy,’’ said Principal LeeAndra  Khan of Chicago’s Bronzeville Scholastic Institute (BSI), one of the four new grantees. “It would be very difficult to make these changes without this grant – I’d be stretched very thin.”

Ms. Khan said BSI’s more than 500 high school students should notice a difference when school doors reopen in August and staff hosts the first “Back-to-School” night.  SIG funds will help the school tap social workers and community outreach experts as Ms. Khan works to create a more positive culture and turn the school, housed in the historic Jean Baptiste Point DuSable High School Campus, into a community gathering place.

Agency staff at the Illinois State Board of Education, as well as State Board members, regularly visit SIG Schools to monitor progress. Grants are awarded for three years, pending reapplication and state approval each year.

For each eligible school approved to receive funds under this grant, the district must implement one of four intervention models: Turnaround, Restart, Transformation or School Closure, as approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Money will be allocated to each of the three FY14 districts with the bulk of the money going toward the reform strategy at the specific schools and a smaller portion of funds going toward district oversight.

“These grants help the Illinois State Board of Education achieve two of its most critical goals - to ensure every student will be supported by highly-prepared and effective teachers and school leaders and that every student can demonstrate academic achievement and will be prepared to succeed  after high school,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We will work closely with these selected schools and districts as they take on complex and comprehensive change.”

Nine districts submitted a total of 22 proposals on behalf of eligible schools for the FY14 School Improvement Grants.  A team of eight national external reviewers, selected for their expertise in high school reform work and administrative experience, scored the applications to determine nine finalists. ISBE staff then interviewed teams from the finalist schools as part of the selection process. The Board approved the four selected schools and three districts during the spring, and districts will receive funding during the fiscal year and implement new practices at the onset of the 2013-14 school year.

The SIG districts are required to work with one of 16 organizations, called Lead Partners, that has been pre-approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. The state agency will also provide technical assistance during the process, and each district will have to reapply for continued annual funding with the Fiscal Year 2014 awardees reapplying FY2015 and FY2016.

This year marks the fourth  round of districts to apply and receive School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds authorized under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA SIG) funds.  For a list of schools awarded funds during the past four fiscal years, please visit this ISBE School Improvement Grant web page: http://www.isbe.net/sos/htmls/sip_1003.htm

The following three districts and four schools are approved to receive funding over the grant’s three year period:

District Name
School Name
Tier
Type of Intervention Model
Total Award
(3 Years)
City of Chicago School District 299
Kelly High School
I
Transformation
$6,000,000
Bronzeville Scholastic Institute
I
Transformation
$4,000,000
Danville CCSD 118 Danville  High School
II
Transformation
$6,000,000
Rock Island SD 41 Rock Island  High School
I
Transformation
$6,000,000
TOTAL      
$22,000,000

Note* The Total Award reflects the award given to both the individual school and the LEA. Tier I and Tier II schools refer to the lowest achieving 5 percent of schools in the state.

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