U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that Arkansas will receive $5.7 million to turn around more of its persistently lowest-achieving schools through the U.S. Education Department's School Improvement Grants (SIG) program.
The award provides new funding as part of $535 million included in the fiscal year 2011 budget and made available to states under the program. To date, Arkansas has received $51.8 million since the SIG program was redesigned in 2009.
"We've stood on the sidelines for too long as our lowest-performing schools failed our children year after year," said Duncan. "The School Improvement Grants program is providing courageous school leaders and teacher teams in more than 1,200 schools nationwide with the means to accomplish the very difficult work of turning around some of our hardest to serve schools."
When a school system applies to a state for SIG funding, it must indicate that it will implement one of four intervention models in each of its persistently lowest-achieving schools, based on school needs:
Turnaround Model: Replace the principal, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers; adopt a new governance structure; and improve the school through curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.
Restart Model: Convert a school or close it and re-open it as a charter school or under an education management organization.
School Closure: Close the school and send the students to higher-achieving schools in the district.
Transformation Model: Replace the principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extended learning time, and other strategies.