LAWRENCE, MA — The Patrick-Murray Administration and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced that 9 schools in Brockton, Lawrence, Lynn, Salem, Springfield and Worcester will receive $13.7 million in federal funding to support new school redesign plans intended to accelerate school improvement and close achievement gaps among Massachusetts students.
These awards represent the third round of competitive federal grant funding to support turnaround efforts in the Commonwealth’s lowest performing schools. In two previous funding cycles, the Department awarded approximately $57 million to 30 schools across the state. Grant awards for schools in this third round averaged $1.48 million over three years and will commence in September 2012.
“We are committed to providing schools with the tools they need to more quickly close achievement gaps and ensure all of our students have the opportunity to succeed at high levels,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “These grants will help provide the vital support necessary to do this important work.”
“Nothing short of aggressive reform will bring about the kind of accelerated academic improvement we need to see in these struggling schools,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. “The redesign plans funded today represent bold approaches that are commensurate with the challenge of improving outcomes for the students at these schools.”
“These valuable School Improvement funds will enhance the efforts of educators to transform our underperforming schools,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville. “Students in these newly funded schools will access a new, more innovative education through a combination of advancing instructional practices and incorporating crucial health and human services into the school day.”
Under the state’s accountability system established by the Achievement Gap Act of 2010, schools are classified as Level 1-5. According to federal guidelines, districts with Level 4 (“underperforming”) schools as well as many districts with Level 3 schools were eligible to compete for the grants.
To apply, districts were required to develop proposals for funding that would adopt and implement one of four federally funded redesign models to improve student learning: (1) the Transformation model, which requires increased learning time and new evaluation systems for principals and teachers; (2) the Turnaround model, which requires that at least 50 percent of the staff be new to the school; (3) the Restart model, in which an educational management or charter organization will assume primary responsibility for turning around the school; and (4) the School Closure model.
The following Lawrence schools received funding in Round 3 (funding amounts are preliminary):
* Business Management & Finance High School, Transformation model, $1,440,580
* South Lawrence East Middle School, Transformation model, $1,800,000
* James F. Leonard School, Restart model, $1,561,550
* Lawrence International High School, Transformation model, $1,473,191 Lawrence received $266,625 funding to support the implementation of their schools’ redesign plans.