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Monday, July 5, 2010

SIG in Maine

Like most federal laws in education, states are asked to interpret - often modifying - the law and then pass it for their individual states and circumstances.  Following is some information on SIG grants in Maine released by the DOE in the following press release.

Maine DOE: Federal Funds Available for Persistently Low Achieving Schools

10 schools identified under federal criteria
March 9, 2010
"AUGUSTA – Maine Education Commissioner Sue Gendron on Tuesday released a list of 10 “persistently lowest-achieving schools,” as defined by federal criteria – schools that will now be eligible for a share of $12 million in federal school improvement grants.
The 10 schools have low levels of proficiency in math and reading over a three year period and a low level of improvement.
The schools are eligible to apply for a share of the school improvement grants for up to three years, provided they agree to pursue an aggressive plan for turning around the school. Under federal guidelines, they would have to agree to one of the following models: redesign or replace the school; convert the school to a charter school; transform the school through comprehensive reforms; or close the school and transfer students to higher performing schools in the district.
The charter school model option is not permissible under Maine law. Of the remaining three models, the transformation model may be the most common option in Maine. Specifically, it requires: replacing principals who have been at the school over two years and taking steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; instituting comprehensive instructional reforms; increasing learning time; and providing operational flexibility and support to the school.
“This is an incredible opportunity for schools,” Gendron said. “The opportunities it creates for kids are significant.”
Gendron emphasized that the state will work with the 10 schools to develop plans for improving student performance. None of the 10 schools is required to apply for the grant money.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Maine was required to identify the five schools with the lowest combined performance on reading and mathematics assessments in each of two different groups:
Title I schools that have not made progress according to NCLB for two or more years; and High schools that are eligible for Title I funds but whose districts are using those funds in other schools.
Maine was also required to identify high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent in 2009. Maine has none that meet that criterion.
Gendron emphasized that the 10 schools are from two specific groups only."

The specifics of the grant have been presented in an archived webinar presented by Rochelle Tome.

Take a look as see how it applies to our state.  Notice we decided against the charter school option.

Whether your school has been identified or not, this is important information for all Maine teachers.