As the recently released "Building a Grad Nation" report provides a renewed call to action to address high school graduation rates, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that of the more than 700 schools receiving School Improvement Grants (SIG) to implement one of the four turnaround models this year, 48 percent are high schools.
“In the past, low-performing high schools have been almost totally ignored in most districts’ school turnaround efforts,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Yet nearly half of the 730 schools implementing one of the four models this year are high schools.”
In previous years of the program, only schools that received Title I Part A funds in school improvement status were eligible for SIG funds. And since high schools have been historically underserved by Title I, they were often unable to receive SIG funds and resources. The new rules implemented by the department allowed states to fund many high schools that had never received SIG funds before.
These turnarounds are being funded by a portion of the $3.5 billion made available to states this spring through the School Improvement Grants program from money set aside in the 2009 budget and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to preliminary data available on 44 states that have received SIG grants:
- 730 schools have begun implementation of one of the four rigorous intervention models in the 2010-11 school year.
- 48 percent of schools implementing one of the four SIG models are high schools, 24 percent are elementary schools, 21 percent are middle schools and seven percent are some combination of the three.
An additional $545,633,000 has been provided for SIG in 2010 and will be awarded to states to fund additional schools in the 2011-12 school year. The department has also requested an additional $900 million for the program in the 2011 budget.