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September 17, 2013
Federal School Improvement Dollars Impact Learning Around the State
Ten Oregon schools complete school improvement process
(Salem, Ore.) – Today Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton announced that ten Oregon schools are exiting the School Improvement Grant process after three years of additional resources and support designed to turn around performance and improve student outcomes. The federal School Improvement Grants provide additional funds to support improvement efforts in low-performing, high-poverty schools. Oregon has now received funding for two cohorts of schools. The ten schools that have just completed the process are part of the first cohort of schools and received a total of $32.9 million over the last three years. The ten schools are: EagleRidge High School, Klamath Falls City Schools; Early College High School, Salem-Keizer School District; Hallman Elementary School, Salem-Keizer School District; Madras High School, Jefferson County School District; Marshall High School, Bend-La Pine School District; McKay High School, Salem-Keizer School District; Ontario High School, Ontario School District; Oregon City Service Learning Academy, Oregon City School District; Roberts High School, Salem-Keizer School District; Roosevelt High School, Portland Public Schools.
“The schools that received these grants were really struggling three years ago,” said Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “They faced huge challenges from high dropout rates to low student performance. But the staff, students, and communities of these schools were committed to turning things around and improving student outcomes and opportunities. Thanks to the federal School Improvement Grants, that turnaround effort is well underway. While many of these schools still have a ways to go, all ten made real gains over the last three years – gains that I trust they will build on in the years to come.”
In order to be eligible for School Improvement Grants, schools must be Title-I funded (low-income) and be among the lowest performing schools in the state or have very low graduation rates. Grants ranged from $50,000 per year to $2 million per year. School improvement funds went to pay for things such as additional professional development, staff training and collaboration time, intensive student support programs, extended learning time, dropout prevention, and development of new teacher and administrator evaluation systems.
“I recently visited McKay High School to celebrate the start of the school year, and I was blown away by the outstanding work they have done over the last several years to bring down their dropout rate, improve student achievement, and address the achievement gap,” said Deputy Superintendent Saxton. “I want to thank the students and staff at McKay and all of our SIG schools for their incredible dedication and hard work over the last several years. I know that the additional resources make a difference. But these types of gains are not possible without the vision, passion, and determination of a whole team of people. Thank you all for the work you have done – and continue to do – to show us what transformational change truly looks like.”
A Few School Improvement Grant Highlights
Over the last three years:
Staff from the Oregon Department of Education will be visiting school board meetings over the coming weeks to report out to local school boards on the progress their SIG schools made under the program. Details on these visits can be obtained directly from local school districts for those interested in attending or learning more.
For more on School Improvement Grants, go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=2919.
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