Dept. of Ed. Announces $101 in Federal Funds for Reforms to Boost Student Achievement

HARRISBURG – Dozens of Pennsylvania schools will share in $101 million in grants to implement bold reforms designed to raise student achievement, announced acting Education Secretary Thomas E. Gluck.

The department will distribute $85 million in School Improvement Grants, or SIG, from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, in combination with $16 million in regularly-allocated federal Title I SIG, to 57 schools. The grants are to implement specific, aggressive reforms designed to substantially improve student performance in schools that have a high percentage of students performing below grade level, and where insufficient progress has been made over the past 5 years.

Had Pennsylvania been among the states selected to receive federal Race to the Top funding, these same reforms would have been more widely distributed across commonwealth schools.

Grant awards were based on a competitive process according to federally-established guidelines. Grantees will have three years to use the funds.

“The School Improvement Grants will give a real boost to aggressive academic reforms in schools that need the additional support and resources the most,” Gluck said. “I applaud the schools’ willingness to take on this ambitious work and for their commitment to making real changes in schools where too many students are not achieving the progress needed for success.”

The federal guidance established four bold school reform models. Eligible schools had to commit to one of the four school intervention models: Turnaround, Restart, School Closure or Transformation.

The Turnaround model goal is to “turn around” schools through the implementation of nine broad strategies, including replacement of the principals, high-quality professional development, adoption of new governance, and replacement of at least 50 percent of staff.

The Transformation model includes the use of rigorous, transparent, and equitable evaluation systems for teachers and principals, high-quality professional development and design and development of curriculum with teacher and principal involvement.

The Restart model enables a district to re-open a school as a charter school or elect to have an education management organization run the school.

School Closure enables districts to transfer students to other, higher-achieving schools within the district’s boundaries, within a reasonable proximity.

These School Improvement Grants were awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the No Child Left Behind Act to provide support for major school improvement and reform efforts.

Schools eligible for SIG included the lowest performing Title I schools whose Adequate Yearly Progress status is School Improvement or Corrective Action, and Title I-eligible schools that are the lowest achieving and have not made satisfactory progress on state assessments. Title I-eligible schools are those that have a high percentage of economically-disadvantaged students.
The awards were competitive, and Pennsylvania’s criteria for selecting schools required federal approval.  Applications were scored by outside peer reviewers and funding priority was given to schools that met the criteria to be identified as Persistently Lowest Achieving, a federal category of schools.

For more information, visit the Department of Education online at

Editor’s note: Below is the list of awardees, the reform model that will be implemented and the award amount to be expended over three years.

Allentown City SD 
Central Elementary, Transformation, $1,950,000
Raub MS, Transformation, $1,500,000
William Allen HS, Transformation, $1,050,000
Trexler MS, Transformation, $750,000
Harrison Morton MS, Transformation, $1,050,000

Central Dauphin SD 
CD East SHS, Transformation, $2,099,888

Duquesne City SD 
Duquesne Consolidated School, Transformation, $1,391,872

Harrisburg SD 
Career & Tech Academy, Closure, $300,000

Lancaster SD 
McCaskey HS, Transformation, $1,854,809
Hand, Turnaround, $1,675,099
Reynolds MS, Transformation, $1,622,148

McKeesport Area SD 
McKeesport Area HS, Transformation, $3,360,000

Mount Union Area SD 
Mount Union Area HS, Transformation, $2,546,600

Penn Hills SD 
Penn Hills SHS, Transformation, $2,745,862

Perseus House CS of Excellence (Erie)
Perseus House CS of Excellence, Transformation, $1,305,500
Philadelphia SD
Vaux, Turnaround, $1,399,996
Sayre, Transformation, $2,376,000
Olney West, Transformation, $900,000
West Philadelphia HS, Transformation, $2,221,238
Roxborough HS, Transformation, $2,123,044
University City HS, Turnaround, $2,772,000
King HS, Transformation, $2,376,000
Frankford Hs, Transformation, $2,376,000
Fels HS, Transformation, $2,974,129
Germantown HS, Transformation, $2,608,517
South Philadelphia HS, Transformation, $1,800,000
Gratz HS, Transformation, $1,620,000
Edison HS, Transformation, $2,999,996
Lincoln HS, Transformation, $4,199,996
Alcorn, Transformation, $1,071,271
Stetson, Restart, $2,637,708
Daroff, Restart, $1,980,000
Smedley, Restart, $948,590
Bluford, Restart, $1,980,000
Allen ES, Turnaround, $772,526
Harrity, Restart, $2,538,785
Douglas ES, Restart, $913,805
Clemente, Turnaround, $999,988
Clymer, Transformation, $1,275,000
Locke, Transformation, $1,261,442
Feltonville Intermediate, Transformation, $776,063
Mann, Restart, $2,026,099

Philadelphia Montessori CS
Philadelphia Montessori CS, Transformation, $852,647

Pittsburgh SD 
Westinghouse, Transformation, $2,523,374
Oliver HS, Transformation, $2,485,136
Rooney, Closure, $208,773
King, Transformation, $2,374,705
Perry HS, Transformation, $2,381,702
Langley HS, Transformation, $2,340,199
Brashear HS, Transformation, $2,444,195

Southeast Delco SD
Academy Park HS, Transformation, $2,634,625

Steelton-Highspire SD 
Steelton Highspire HS, Turnaround, $787,050

Turkeyfoot Valley Area SD 
Turkeyfoot Valley Area JSHS, Transformation, $898,000

West Phila. Achievement CES 
West Phila. Achievement CES, Transformation, $892,648

William Penn SD 
Penn Wood HS, Transformation, $1,751,400
Park Lane Elem, Transformation , $679,200
Penn Wood MS, Transformation, $855,000

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