Pennsylvania Department of Education Announces $101 Million in Federal Funds for Bold Reforms to Boost Student Achievement

Aug 26, 2010, 15:06 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Education

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dozens of Pennsylvania schools will share in $101 million in grants to implement bold reforms designed to raise student achievement, acting Education Secretary Thomas E. Gluck announced today.

The department will distribute $85 million in School Improvement Grants, or SIG, from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, in combination with $16 million in regularly-allocated federal Title I SIG, to 57 schools. The grants are to implement specific, aggressive reforms designed to substantially improve student performance in schools that have a high percentage of students performing below grade level, and where insufficient progress has been made over the past 5 years.

Had Pennsylvania been among the states selected to receive federal Race to the Top funding, these same reforms would have been more widely distributed across commonwealth schools.

Grant awards were based on a competitive process according to federally-established guidelines. Grantees will have three years to use the funds.

"The School Improvement Grants will give a real boost to aggressive academic reforms in schools that need the additional support and resources the most," Gluck said. "I applaud the schools' willingness to take on this ambitious work and for their commitment to making real changes in schools where too many students are not achieving the progress needed for success."

The federal guidance established four bold school reform models. Eligible schools had to commit to one of the four school intervention models: Turnaround, Restart, School Closure or Transformation.

The Turnaround model goal is to "turn around" schools through the implementation of nine broad strategies, including replacement of the principals, high-quality professional development, adoption of new governance, and replacement of at least 50 percent of staff.

The Transformation model includes the use of rigorous, transparent, and equitable evaluation systems for teachers and principals, high-quality professional development and design and development of curriculum with teacher and principal involvement.

The Restart model enables a district to re-open a school as a charter school or elect to have an education management organization run the school.

School Closure enables districts to transfer students to other, higher-achieving schools within the district's boundaries, within a reasonable proximity.

These School Improvement Grants were awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the No Child Left Behind Act to provide support for major school improvement and reform efforts.

Schools eligible for SIG included the lowest performing Title I schools whose Adequate Yearly Progress status is School Improvement or Corrective Action, and Title I-eligible schools that are the lowest achieving and have not made satisfactory progress on state assessments. Title I-eligible schools are those that have a high percentage of economically-disadvantaged students.

The awards were competitive, and Pennsylvania's criteria for selecting schools required federal approval.  Applications were scored by outside peer reviewers, and funding priority was given to schools that met the criteria to be identified as Persistently Lowest Achieving, a federal category of schools.

For more information, visit the Department of Education online at

Media contact:

Steve Weitzman, Department of Education; 717-783-9802

Editor's note: Below is the list of awardees, the reform model that will be implemented and the award amount to be expended over three years.

Allentown City SD

Central Elementary, Transformation, $1,950,000

Raub MS, Transformation, $1,500,000

William Allen HS, Transformation, $1,050,000

Trexler MS, Transformation, $750,000

Harrison Morton MS, Transformation, $1,050,000

Central Dauphin SD

CD East SHS, Transformation, $2,099,888

Duquesne City SD

Duquesne Consolidated School, Transformation, $1,391,872

Harrisburg SD

Career & Tech Academy, Closure, $300,000

Lancaster SD

McCaskey HS, Transformation, $1,854,809

Hand, Turnaround, $1,675,099

Reynolds MS, Transformation, $1,622,148

McKeesport Area SD

McKeesport Area HS, Transformation, $3,360,000

Mount Union Area SD

Mount Union Area HS, Transformation, $2,546,600

Penn Hills SD

Penn Hills SHS, Transformation, $2,745,862

Perseus House CS of Excellence (Erie)

Perseus House CS of Excellence, Transformation, $1,305,500

Philadelphia SD

Vaux, Turnaround, $1,399,996

Sayre, Transformation, $2,376,000

Olney West, Transformation, $900,000

West Philadelphia HS, Transformation, $2,221,238

Roxborough HS, Transformation, $2,123,044

University City HS, Turnaround, $2,772,000

King HS, Transformation, $2,376,000

Frankford HS, Transformation, $2,376,000

Fels HS, Transformation, $2,974,129

Germantown HS, Transformation, $2,608,517

South Philadelphia HS, Transformation, $1,800,000

Gratz HS, Transformation, $1,620,000

Edison HS, Transformation, $2,999,996

Lincoln HS, Transformation, $4,199,996

Alcorn, Transformation, $1,071,271

Stetson, Restart, $2,637,708

Daroff, Restart, $1,980,000

Smedley, Restart, $948,590

Bluford, Restart, $1,980,000

Allen ES, Turnaround, $772,526

Harrity, Restart, $2,538,785

Douglas ES, Restart, $913,805

Clemente, Turnaround, $999,988

Clymer, Transformation, $1,275,000

Locke, Transformation, $1,261,442

Feltonville Intermediate, Transformation, $776,063

Mann, Restart, $2,026,099

Philadelphia Montessori CS

Philadelphia Montessori CS, Transformation, $852,647

Pittsburgh SD

Westinghouse, Transformation, $2,523,374

Oliver HS, Transformation, $2,485,136

Rooney, Closure, $208,773

King, Transformation, $2,374,705

Perry HS, Transformation, $2,381,702

Langley HS, Transformation, $2,340,199

Brashear HS, Transformation, $2,444,195

Southeast Delco SD

Academy Park HS, Transformation, $2,634,625

Steelton-Highspire SD

Steelton Highspire HS, Turnaround, $787,050

Turkeyfoot Valley Area SD

Turkeyfoot Valley Area JSHS, Transformation, $898,000

West Phila. Achievement CES

West Phila. Achievement CES, Transformation, $892,648

William Penn SD

Penn Wood HS, Transformation, $1,751,400

Park Lane Elem, Transformation      , $679,200

Penn Wood MS, Transformation, $855,000

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education