Turning Around. Moving Ahead. Progress Report on DMPS and SIG Schools.
When the conversation turns to education, it usually revolves around numbers. Test scores. Funding. Graduation rates. Demographics.
And yet, walk into any school and you see people, not numbers. Dedicated educators and staff throughout the building. Students eager to learn. Parents and volunteers providing support.
Turning Around. Moving Ahead. provides a look at both numbers and people. Specifically, this is a progress report on student proficiency results at our schools receiving School Improvement Grants (SIG) and stories on the work underway within those schools.
The SIG program was begun by the federal government to provide extra help to persistently lowest-achieving schools and to advance our efforts at education reform.
In Des Moines, six of our schools are receiving support thanks to this program.
As the U.S. Department of Education provides information on SIG schools across the nation, we want to give you a closer look at our schools here at home.
As you will see, many of these schools saw student proficiency numbers go up since receiving SIG funding. And in a few cases, the numbers went down.
But, in every case, great work is underway to support our students and provide them with great educational opportunities.
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ABOUT THE SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANT PROGRAM
The School Improvement Grant (SIG) program was approved by Congress and signed into law by the President in 2009. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, it provides additional support and focus to help turn around schools identified as persistently lowest achieving.
When a school receives SIG funding, it must then implement one of the following four federal intervention models:
- Turnaround Model: Replace the principal, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers; adopt a new governance structure; and improve the school through curriculum reform, professional development, extended learning time, and other strategies.
- Restart Model: Convert a school or close it and re-open it as a charter school or under an education management organization.
- School Closure: Close the school and send the students to higher-achieving schools in the district.
- Transformation Model: Replace the principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extended learning time, and other strategies.
SIG SCHOOLS IN DES MOINES AND IOWA
Since 2010, the Iowa Department of Education has awarded SIG funding to nine schools in Iowa: six in Des Moines and three in Waterloo.
Des Moines Public Schools will receive approximately $18.5 million in federal funds to support SIG-related work at two cohorts of schools. The first began receiving SIG funds in the 2010-11 school year and includes:
- North High School ($3,750,000)
- Hoyt Middle School ($3,395,000)
- Weeks Middle School ($3,395,000)
- Edmunds Elementary School ($2,792,033)
The second cohort was awarded SIG funds starting in the 2011-12 school year and includes:
- Findley Elementary School ($2,860,496)
- Harding Middle School ($2,344,716)
The total estimated three-year amount of SIG funds is noted in parentheses.
All of the DMPS schools receiving SIG funds are using the Transformation Model, as described above, with the exception of Harding Middle School which is using the Turnaround Model.
SCHOOL ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED BY SIG
SIG grants support a range of special initiatives at schools to help raise student achievement. Some examples include:
- Ongoing, high-quality professional development
- Using data to identify and implement an instructional program that is research-based
- Using student data to differentiate instruction to meet the academic needs of individual students
- Establishing schedules and strategies that provide increased learning time
- Providing ongoing mechanisms for family and community engagement