Updated 08/12/2011 05:00 AM
State of Education: Funding for underachieving schools
The State Education Department announced that more than $36 million will be awarded statewide to low achieving schools. YNN's Vince Gallagher has the details.
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The State Education Department announced that more than $36 million statewide in school improvement grant awards.
"We're going to redesign how we provide our AIS services to those students so we can meet with state's needs. So in all in all, we're pretty excited about what the plan offers," said Michael Palino.
The grant goes to seven districts: Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Roosevelt Union Free, Schenectady, Syracuse, Yonkers and Albany. Funds will be used to assist schools identified as persistently lowest achieving under this program. So this also means new and improved schools. Some plans are to increase technology and develop an extended day care program.
"One of our primary focuses in our building is to extend the learning time for our students both prior to school and at the end of school," said Palino.
However, there is a catch. To receive the grant award funding, school districts must have certain goals by following certain models.
"So with that in mind we selected what's known as the transformational model and under the transformational model we have outlined a plan that includes initiatives, resources, that will implement this beginning school year and that we'll need to adhere to very closely in continuing with grant," said Palino.
Model plans are identified as restart, which is converting a school, turnaround, which replaces and screens existing staff, transformation, which replaces the principal or actual school closure. We spoke with Mary Boyd from Rochester. She says they have a model plan as well.
"For all models you must replace the principal of the low achieving school if he or she has been there for longer than two years, so that's something we definitely had to do," said Mary Boyd, Rochester School District Chief of Staff.
But this literally can help schools turnaround.
"It's just making us work even harder to make sure we're getting the reform right and making sure these schools are actually improving," said Boyd.
The funds are part of the $308 million that the United States Department of Education made available to the State last year as improvements and initiatives continue.