Monday, August 16, 2010

Idaho Schools Receive $12 Million in School Improvement Grants

Idaho schools will receive more than $12 million in additional federal funds for school improvement efforts over the next two years, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced today.

The U.S. Department of Education approved Idaho’s application for the additional School Improvement Grant program funds today. These funds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“As State Superintendent, I have been looking for every source of revenue to help Idaho schools continue to improve student achievement in this tough economic time. The School Improvement Grant is an additional source we have identified and worked with the U.S. Department of Education to ensure it provides an effective plan for Idaho schools,” Superintendent Luna said. “For the past three years, we have seen unprecedented growth in student achievement, and this grant will help keep this momentum moving forward across Idaho.” 

To receive the funds, Idaho had to identify “persistently lowest-achieving” schools in the state.  These schools will take priority in receiving this funding.

In Idaho, a persistently lowest-achieving school was identified as a school that has persistently struggled to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind, or a secondary school that is eligible to receive federal Title I funding for low-income students but is not currently receiving those funds.

Idaho identified 12 schools statewide. Each school identified as a persistently lowest-achieving school will have the opportunity to apply to the Idaho State Department of Education to receive these additional funds. Schools will be eligible to receive at least $50,000 and can apply for up to $2 million. 

Schools will be able to use this additional funding on school improvement efforts, such as professional development for teachers, instructional coaches for staff, new curricular materials, or extended learning time for students after school or in the summer.

The State Department of Education has worked closely with all schools that have been identified to begin writing their applications and plans for the school improvement funds.  The Department will host a workshop in the coming weeks to provide additional technical assistance to these schools.

If funds remain after the schools identified as persistently lowest-achieving have been fully funded under this grant, other schools in Idaho that have not met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind are eligible to apply for funding.

The following schools will receive first priority in receiving funding under this grant:
  • Aberdeen Middle School in Aberdeen School District
  • Fort Hall Elementary School in Blackfoot School District
  • Jefferson Middle School in Caldwell School District
  • Melba Middle School in Melba Joint School District
  • West Elementary School and Hacker Middle School in Mountain Home School District
  • Murtaugh Middle School in Murtaugh School District
  • Lakeside Elementary School in Plummer-Worley School District
  • Shoshone Elementary School and Shoshone Middle School in Shoshone School District
  • Snake River Junior High School in Snake River School District
  • Holmes Elementary School in Wilder School District
More information is available on the U.S. Department of Education's website.

~ Melissa M.

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