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Tennessee to Receive $10 Million to Invest in Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools

Thursday, July 16, 2015 | 03:42pm

NASHVILLE— The Tennessee Department of Education has awarded $10,497,423 in School Improvement Grant funds to 16 schools that are among the lowest-performing schools in the state in terms of academic achievement.  

NASHVILLE— The Tennessee Department of Education has awarded $10,497,423 in School Improvement Grant funds to 16 schools that are among the lowest-performing schools in the state in terms of academic achievement.  

This is the first year of a three to five year School Improvement Grant award totaling $31,904,500, designed to focus on areas that are most critical in turning around high needs schools – strong leadership, effective instruction, and additional time for learning. These School Improvement Grants are provided through funds from the United States Department of Education and must be used to support the state’s Priority Schools.

“Since 2012 the state has seen marked improvement in academic achievement in a number of schools receiving School Improvement Grants with some recognized in the top five percent in the state for year-over- year progress,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “Focused resources in under performing schools can have a strong impact on our students that are the farthest behind.”

Knox County will receive $513,000 to support Vine Middle School in its first year of school turnaround efforts. Six Metro Nashville Public Schools – Inglewood Elementary, Jere Baxter Middle, John Whittsitt Elementary, KIPP at Kirkpatrick, Madison Middle, and Pearl Cohn High School – will receive $3,051,422 for the 2015-16 school year.  Shelby County Schools was awarded $4,963,377 to support Grandview Heights Elementary School, Hamilton High School, Melrose High School, Treadwell Elementary School, and Trezevant High School. And the Achievement School District will receive $1,969,624 to support four of its schools in their turnaround efforts: Cornerstone Prep Denver Campus, Memphis Scholars Florida Kansas, Wooddale Middle School in Memphis, and Neely’s Bend College Prep in Nashville.

In addition to the School Improvement Grant, Knox County will receive a $600,000 Innovation Zone Grant to support its four lowest-performing schools. Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County will each receive $1,000,000 in Innovation Zone Grant funds.

These grants also provide opportunities for school leaders to work together in the state’s Turnaround Principal Cohort. School leaders will meet to share ideas and receive training from experts in the fields of urban education, school planning, and instruction.

These schools will be eligible in subsequent years for additional SIG funding through this grant. This funding will be dependent on academic achievement and progress on specific indicators. Schools in the bottom five percent of academic achievement were eligible to apply for this competitive grant.