State awards over $2M to New Haven for school transformation

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(HARTFORD, CT)—Commissioner Stefan Pryor today announced that the state awarded over $6,666,242 in aid to support turnaround efforts in 28 schools across ten districts for the 2014-15 academic year.  These grants are specifically designed to assist local towns and districts as they improve outcomes for students in Connecticut’s lowest-performing schools.
 
“Providing all our students the opportunity to receive a high-quality education requires greater investments in our schools that are struggling. That’s why we’ve increased funding to our lowest performing districts by over $130 million and created the Commissioner’s Network to effect school-level change,” Governor Dannel P. Malloy said. “We are pleased to offer additional investment opportunities to support school improvement and commend our districts for pursuing such resources.”
 
The three grants—the School Improvement Grant (SIG) 1003(g), the 1003(a) Competitive Grant, and the High School Redesign Grant—are funded through federal and state resources. The State Department of Education distributed the awards through a competitive application process.
 
“Support for school-level transformation is essential to closing achievement gaps and raising student achievement across the state. We are encouraged by the innovative approaches our districts are pursuing to improve outcomes for their students,” Commissioner Pryor said. “We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Malloy and for his continued prioritization of improving education in Connecticut.”
 
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, along with Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries, joined Commissioner Pryor today for the announcement.
 
"In New Haven we're working to refine public education so it more effectively addresses the needs of today's students, with programs and hours of operation to more effectively match the needs of today's families," Mayor Toni N. Harp said. "We're grateful to Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor, and so many others at the state level for the creative partnership we have with them in this effort to build a public school system that will prepare students to participate in today's knowledge-based economy."
 
New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) has leveraged the state’s funding opportunities, including the Commissioner’s Network, to support school-level turnaround efforts in eleven schools serving more than 6,000 students. In 2014-15, the district will receive approximately $2.7 million to support school-level turnaround initiatives resulting from the recent SIG 1003(g), 1003(a), and High School Redesign competitions.  Also, the State Bond Commission recently approved over $1.2 million in bond funding to support infrastructural improvements and technology investments at Lincoln-Bassett Community School, a Commissioner’s Network school, and James Hillhouse High School, a recipient of the High School Redesign Grant.
 
“New Haven is embracing school transformation with an urgency and passion that is rooted in our shared desire to help all kids rise to success. This investment by the State Department of Education in our school transformation work sends a message to students at Lincoln-Bassett, Hillhouse and beyond that we believe in them and want them to succeed,” Superintendent Harries said. “I thank Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor, and our state delegation for investing in our children’s future.”
 
The Commissioner’s Network, Connecticut’s flagship initiative to transform some of the most chronically underperforming schools, provides additional resources, greater flexibility, and increased accountability to dramatically improve student achievement. In the 2014-15 academic year, the State is investing more than $15 million in the 16 Network schools serving nearly 10,000 students.
 
The three grants announced today are additional opportunities to support school-level turnaround efforts. Of the 82 schools eligible to apply for the competitive funds, 47 schools submitted applications and 28 applicants were granted awards.
 
Through low-performing school bond funding, the Department launched the High School Redesign Grant, a new competition to support comprehensive high schools converting to smaller learning communities (SLCs) or autonomous academies. Through capital improvements and technology investments, this secondary reform model is designed to foster student engagement and promote personalized learning. 
 
High School Redesign Grant:

District:

School:

Amount:

Derby Public Schools

Derby High School

$496,040

New Haven School District

James Hillhouse High School

$500,000

New Britain School District

New Britain High School

$449,400

 
The Department received applications for the federal 1003(a) school improvement funding from schools pursuing comprehensive and transformative plans. Awardees of the 1003(a) grants are pursuing innovative strategies in the areas of talent, academics, culture and climate, and operations. Schools may seek continued funding for a second year which would be contingent on first year results. 
 
1003(a) Competitive Grant:

District:

School:

Amount:

Bloomfield

Bloomfield High School

$200,000

Bridgeport
 

Cesar Batalla School

$200,000

Geraldine Johnson School

$200,000

Columbus School

$182,282

Tisdale School

$130,000

East Hartford

Anna E. Norris School

$200,000

Hartford
 

McDonough Elementary School

$200,000

Americas Choice at SAND

$130,000

Burns Latino Studies Academy

$130,000

Meriden

John Barry School

$100,000

Middletown

Bielefield School

$130,000

New Britain
 

Smalley Academy

$200,000

Northend School

$130,000

Smith School

$130,000

 

Pulaski Middle School

$100,000

 

Slade Middle School

$100,000

 

New Haven
 

Katherine Brennan School

$200,000

Clemente Leadership Academy

$200,000

Hill Central Music Academy

$200,000

John S. Martinez School

$100,000

Wexler/Grant Community School

$100,000

Augusta Lewis Troup School

$100,000

James Hillhouse High School

$200,000

 

West Rock Author’s Academy

$100,000

New London
 

New London High School

$200,000

Jennings School

$130,000

 
The federal SIG 1003(g) grant program provides states, districts, and schools with additional funding to dramatically increase student achievement over a three-year period. Schools must pursue one of four federal reform models – turnaround, restart, transformation, or closure. 
 
SIG 1003(g) grant

District:

School:

Amount per year:

New Haven

West Rock Author’s Academy

$307,130

Meriden

John Barry School

$307,130

New Britain

Pulaski Middle School

$307,130

New Britain

Slade Middle School

$307,130