Seven CCS schools receive $20 million in SIG funds

“Eraser finished with cleaning chalkboard” from Flickr user frozenchipmunk.

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) announced that 42 Ohio schools will receive $95 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) monies over the next three years. A total of seven of the 42 schools are from the Columbus City School district.

SIG grants differ from the Race to the Top program. Rather than entire school districts receiving SIG funds, specific school buildings will receive federal monies.  According to the US Department of Education, SIG grants are used to improve student achievement in Title I schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring so as to enable those schools to make Adequate Yearly Progress and exit improvement status.

Federal grant guidelines defined the eligibility of schools to apply for SIG monies. All eligible schools in states that applied for SIG funds were put in one of three Tiers. Tier I schools were defined by the federal government as the lowest achieving five percent of schools receiving Title I funds and were in school improvement. Secondary schools receiving Title I funds that had a five year graduation rate of less than 60 percent were also in this category. The National Education Association, Ohio Education Association and Columbus Education Association define these institutions as “Priority Schools”.

Schools that were among the lowest achieving five percent of Title I eligible secondary schools or Title I eligible secondary schools with a five year graduation rate less than 60 percent were placed in Tier II. All Title I schools in school improvement that are not in Tier I are put into Tier II for the purpose of using SIG funds. A total of 26 of the 42 Ohio schools that will receive SIG funds through ODE are in Tier I. Ten of the sixteen remaining schools are in Tier II and six are in Tier III.

Ohio’s March SIG award from the US Department of Education award totaled $132 million. With the recent announcement, ODE will only distribute a total of $95 million to the 42 schools. The remaining $37 million in SIG monies will be carried over to award with next year’s funds, according to ODE documentation.

Columbus City Schools (CCS) was one of eleven districts statewide that had schools whose SIG applications were approved. Additionally, it was one of five “Ohio 8” school districts with schools receiving SIG monies, including: Cincinnati, Cleveland Municipal, Dayton and Youngstown.

All of the seven CCS Priority Schools that applied in April were awarded SIG funds from ODE, and will receive a total of $20.18 million over the next three years. The schools and their three-year SIG grant award are: Alum Crest HS ($2.23 million), Champion MS ($2.97 million), Columbus Global Academy ($2.91 million), Linden-McKinley STEM Academy ($3.77 million), Southmoor MS ($3.16 million), Weinland Park ES ($2.3 million) and West HS ($2.73 million). Each school will receive between $700,000 to more than $1 million dollars per year for the next three years.

Any district with Tier I or Tier II schools applying for SIG monies were required to implement one of four instructional models outlined by the Ohio Department of Education. Each of the seven district schools were that applied were designated Tier I schools by the Ohio Department of Education. The Columbus Education Association, Ohio Education Association and National Education Association support the Transformation Model.

Upon the federal government’s approval of Ohio’s application in March, the principals and CEA Senior Faculty Representatives from each of the seven Priority Schools met immediately after spring break to begin the planning process. Each school developed its own plan and goals through their School Leadership Team (SLT) in partnership with CCS. Each SLT is comprised of the principal, CEA Senior Faculty Representative or designee, teachers and instructional assistants.