FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SED Announces School Innovation Fund Grant to Schenectady CSD
State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today announced a $2.45 million School Innovation Fund (SIF) grant to Schenectady City School District. Under New York State’s Race to the Top program, SIF grants are targeted to support school districts to increase high school graduation rates, college and career readiness of high school graduates, college persistence, and college graduation rates by increasing the availability of new high quality seats for students at most risk.
"We’re putting School Innovation Fund grants into schools where students need the most support," King said. "The goal of the Board of Regents Reform Agenda is to make sure every student in New York graduates from high school with the skills to succeed in college and careers. These grants will help move us closer to that goal."
Using SIF grant funds, school districts – with approved evaluation plans – must partner with one Lead Partner or a Partner Consortium to launch a whole-school redesign of an existing school within any one of the following design frameworks:
- College Pathways School Design
- Community-Oriented School (wrap-around services) Design
- Arts and/or Cultural Education School Design
- Career and Technical Education (CTE) School Design
- Virtual/Blended/Online School Design
- Network-Affiliated School
Schenectady will use its $2,456,818 grant at Lincoln Elementary School to work with partners (Ellis Medicine, Capital Area School Development Association, and The Child Guidance Center (a program of Northeast Parent and Child Society)) to create a school-based health center; on-site counseling and mental health services; a family empowerment center; daily expanded education to support students with additional learning needs; enrichment aligned with the Common Core State Standards and 21st Century Skills to prepare students to be college and career ready; youth development and leadership programs; prevention programs; and adult education and career skills for parents.
King said this is the second round of SIF grants. Last year, the State Education Department (SED) awarded $4,998,028 to two school districts. In this round, SED anticipates awarding $12,042,849 over the next two and a half years in SIF grants. This year, Schenectady is one of three school districts in the state, along with Newburgh Enlarged CSD and Rochester CSD, awarded SIF grants. A fourth district, New York City Department of Education, is fundable contingent upon an approved evaluation plan (Annual Professional Performance Review [APPR plan]).
Districts with schools identified as Priority Schools that were not awarded School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds were eligible to apply for a SIF Grant. By December 31, 2012, all grant-eligible applicants must have an approved APPR plan as required by Education Law §3012-c to receive funding. Schenectady’s APPR plan was approved on August 22, 2012.
The SIF grant is part of the Board of Regents’ statewide effort to prepare students for college and careers with a focus on improving chronically underperforming schools and raising graduation rates for at-risk student populations (particularly English language learners, students with disabilities, and low-income students).
The SIF Grant aligns with the State’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver application that the U.S. Department of Education approved on May 29, 2012 (seehttp://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/ESEAFlexibilityWaiver.html).
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