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Buchanan Schools to receive $1.95 million federal grant

Published 5:30pm Monday, September 6, 2010

Buchanan Community Schools will receive $1.95 million in federal funds to help increase student achievement.

Twenty-eight of Michigan’s lowest-achieving schools have been awarded federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds, the Michigan Department of Education announced.

The funds are from the federal School Improvement Grant, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) signed into law by President Barack Obama last year.

“Education is a key component in our efforts to diversify Michigan’s economy and create jobs,” said Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. “These Recovery Act funds will enable 28 schools across the state to improve student achievement and prepare children for success in college and the workplace.”

Michigan received $115 million in first-round competitive SIG funds for local schools to improve teaching and learning for all students. Using federal rules, only $86 million was available for immediate grant awards, with the remainder rolling into a second round of funding later this year.

The 28 schools receiving grants today earned them based upon meeting the federal grant requirements and having the highest quality applications. They are located in urban, suburban and rural communities throughout Michigan.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan explained that eligible schools that did not receive SIG awards in the first round can reapply in the second round, if they were identified on the latest Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools list announced Aug. 16.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the schools that developed thoughtful and precise plans to help give their students the best chance to succeed,” Flanagan said. “We have strong expectations that these federal grant dollars will bring dramatic improvement and be used to move students to greater academic success.”

The schools eligible for the School Improvement Grant were identified by student achievement and academic growth based on state testing data from the 2007-09 school years. Out of the 108 schools eligible to apply in the first round, 84 sent in applications.

Districts with eligible schools had to submit a detailed school improvement plan using one of four improvement models required by the U.S. Department of Education. SIG funds must be used to provide federal Title I allowable school programming and activities.

Schools will begin implementation of their plans this fall and will have three years to use their federal School Improvement Grant funds.

The four federally-required school improvement models from which the schools had to select, are:

• Transformational Model — Districts would address four specific areas: 1) developing teacher and school leader effectiveness, which includes replacing the principal who led the school prior to commencement of the transformational model; 2) implementing comprehensive instructional reform strategies; 3) extending learning and teacher planning time and creating community-oriented schools; and 4) providing operating flexibility and sustained support.

• Turnaround Model — This would include among other actions, replacing the principal and at least 50 percent of the school’s staff, adopting a new governance structure and implementing a new or revised instructional program.

• Restart Model — School districts would close the school and reopen it under the management of a charter school operator; a charter management organization; or an educational management organization selected through a rigorous review process. A restart school would be required to enroll, within the grades it serves, any former student who wishes to attend.

• School Closure — The district would close the low-achieving school and enroll the students who attended that school in other high-achieving schools in the district.

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