Delaware Cited for School Improvement Leadership
Delaware’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) policies have been cited as best practices from which other states can learn by Mass Insight’s School Turnaround Group in a report released last week: School Improvement Grants: Take Two. In the report, Mass Insight offers lessons learned for states as they make grants to persistently low-performing schools in round two of the significantly increased SIG funding from the stimulus package.
Delaware’s best practices include:
· withholding funds from schools that do not put forth bold plans (which is an especially difficult political decision in this struggling economy). Delaware made only two awards, withholding 69 percent;
· creating a State Turnaround Office to provide technical assistance to schools and districts; and
· offering site-visits to high-performing schools that are engaged in school turnaround efforts throughout the country.
Other states’ practices from which we can learn include:
· Massachusetts is providing grants to districts that demonstrate commitment but lack capacity to help them prepare to win future SIG grants; and
· Colorado and Louisiana both clearly articulate what is required of both the state and districts in terms of responsibilities and consequences for inadequate performance.
The round two (FY10) SIG timeline is as follows:
· November 1, 2010 – United States Department of Education released guidance
· December 3, 2010 – Deadline for each state to submit SIG application
· December 2010 – February 2011 – Timeline for each school district to submit their applications
· February – April 2011 – States awards funding to selected SIG applicants
· Spring/Summer 2011- School districts conduct pre-implementation planning
· Fall 2011 – School districts and schools begin implementation of their school turnaround efforts
In Delaware, FY10 SIG funds (about $700,000 each year for two years) will be provided to the four Partnership Zone schools. Other schools also may receive funds.