Skip Navigation

Title I School Improvement Grants and High School Improvement

The Title I School Improvement Grants (SIG) represent one funding stream under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) intended to address the needs of the nation’s most persistently low-performing schools.  New SIG guidance has opened the door for states to target their lowest performing high schools, even if they are not currently receiving Title I funds (for more information on the SIG regulations, see the U.S. Department of Education’s School Improvement Fund Web page). SIG funding presents a unique opportunity for states in the U.S. to direct resources toward the improvement of schools and to ensure that more students graduate with a high school diploma than ever before.

The SIG program is possibly the most targeted effort ever undertaken in the U.S. to increase student achievement through reform of the most challenged schools, especially as the initiative pertains to high schools. States will need to support their local education agencies’ (LEAs) high school improvement efforts by providing a vision and goals for schools, creating enabling conditions for transformative change, sustaining implementation over time, and building long-term capacity for continued improvement. 

The following resources have been organized to help both state and local education agencies as they explore options for transforming low-performing high schools:

 

Funded School Applications that Serve High School Grades:

The graphs below shows the number of schools funded as a part of SIG since the grant was scaled up in 2009. Figure 1 represents funded schools from Cohort I, which will implement SIG models from 2010-2013.  Almost half of all schools funded as a part of Cohort I serve high school grades. As shown below, every state, with the exception of Idaho, has awarded SIG funds to at least one school serving high school grades. At least 75% of schools in ten states serve high school grades, and at least 50% of schools in an additional ten states serve high school grades.  Figure 2 shows funded schools from Cohort II, which will implement SIG models from 2011-2014.  It is too early to say anything conclusive about the percentage of high schools funded overall, but so far, it seems that most states are continuing their patterns from Cohort I.  States that targeted schools including high school grades for funding for Cohort I, are largely doing the same for Cohort II.  We will continue to update Figure 2 as more school-level grants are announced.

Figure 1.

Number of funded school applications that include high school grades, cohort 1

Figure 2.

Number of funded school applications that include high school grades, cohort 2

Tracking Table of SIG Awards to States and LEAs:

State
Cohort 1: State Award Announced
Cohort 1: LEA Award Announced
Number of High Schools Funded
Cohort 2: State Award Announced
Cohort 2: LEA Award Announced
Cohort 2: Number of High Schools Funded
Alabama
Yes
4
No No  
Alaska
Yes
7
Yes Yes 3
Arizona
Yes
Yes
14
Yes Yes 3
Arkansas
Yes
3
Yes Yes
4
Bureau of Indian Education
Yes
Yes
7
No No  
California
Yes
Yes
26
Yes No  
Colorado
Yes
5
Yes No  
Connecticut
Yes
5
Yes Yes 3
Delaware
Yes
2
Yes Yes 3
District of Columbia
Yes
Yes
6
Yes No  
Florida
Yes
46
Yes No  
Georgia
Yes
Yes
26
Yes Yes 14
Hawaii
Yes
No
No No  
Idaho
Yes
0
Yes No  
Illinois
Yes
10
Yes Yes 13
Indiana
Yes
Yes
5
Yes Yes 1
Iowa
Yes
1
Yes Yes 0
Kansas
Yes
2
Yes No  
Kentucky
Yes
33
Yes Yes 5
Louisiana
Yes
Yes
6
Yes
Yes
26
Maine
Yes
4
Yes Yes 2
Maryland
Yes
1
Yes No  
Massachusetts
Yes
2
Yes Yes 2
Michigan
Yes
16
Yes Yes 11
Minnesota
Yes
13
Yes
No
 
Mississippi
Yes
6
Yes Yes 2
Missouri
Yes
12
Yes No  
Montana
Yes
Yes
4
Yes No  
Nebraska
Yes
2
Yes Yes 1
Nevada
Yes
Yes
1
Yes Yes 3
New Hampshire
Yes
2
Yes No  
New Jersey
Yes
8
Yes Yes 5
New Mexico
Yes
4
Yes Yes 5
New York
Yes
Yes
24
Yes Yes 36
North Carolina
Yes
20
Yes Yes 9
North Dakota
Yes
6
Yes Yes 4
Ohio
Yes
24
Yes Yes 22
Oklahoma
Yes
5
Yes Yes 2
Oregon
Yes
11
Yes Yes 4
Pennsylvania
Yes
35
Yes Yes 12
Rhode Island
Yes
3
No No  
South Carolina
Yes
Yes
10
Yes Yes 7
South Dakota
Yes
Yes
2
Yes
Yes 2
Tennessee
No
Yes
50
No No  
Texas
Yes
64
Yes Yes 32
Utah
Yes
Yes
1
Yes Yes 3
Vermont
Yes
10
No No  
Virginia
Yes
9
Yes No  
Washington
Yes
5
Yes Yes 4
West Virginia
Yes
3
Yes Yes 1
Wisconsin
Yes
21
Yes Yes 1
Wyoming
Yes
3
Yes No

 


Midwest High School SIG Conference (May 18–19, 2011)

The Midwest High School SIG Conference, held May 18-19, 2011 in Chicago, IL, was the third in a series of four conferencesoffered by a national network of content and regional comprehensive centers, which are funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This conference was intended to help states, districts, and schools implement their School Improvement Grants (SIG) by learning and thinking about key topics — effective teachers and leaders, instruction and assessment, optimizing teaching and learning, and planning and sustainability — as they relate to high school improvement.

Access resources from the Midwest High School SIG Conference.

Please click on the links below for further information on the other three regional conferences:
Western Regional Conference
Eastern Regional Conference
Central Regional Conference (Rural school turnaround and serving Native American students theme)

 

National High School Center Resources to Support School Improvement Grants

A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement: A Needs Assessment Tool
Building off of Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework, this tool is designed to help districts and schools assess current high school education policies and practices, identify areas of strengths and limitations, and implement coherent and sustainable school reform initiatives. To assist schools and districts in applying to states for SIG funds, this tool may be used as a self-assessment to help schools and districts highlight areas where they can use the money to address gaps in high school policy and practice and continue to sustain reform efforts that show improvement in high schools.

Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework
The National High School Center's goal is to encourage researchers, policymakers, and practitioners at all levels to engage in comprehensive, systemic efforts to maximize attainment for all high school students, with a focus on those students who have been historically underserved. To this end, we have developed a framework that consists of eight core elements and provides a lens for mapping school, district, and state high school improvement efforts.  The framework may support a state education agency (SEA) or LEA in developing a high school improvement theory of action that is systemic and coherent.

Handbook on Effective Implementation of School Improvement Grants
This handbook provides practical and useful guidance on the models and strategies required and recommended for use in applying for Title I School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds, and includes references to the underlying research and connections to useful resources. Developed by the Center on Innovation and Improvement at the request of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Secondary and Elementary Education, this resource includes contributions from the National High School Center, the Center on Instruction, the Assessment and Accountability Center, and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.

The following sections focus on high school improvement strategies. These sections were authored by the National High School Center, unless otherwise indicated.

  • Chapter 4: Organizational Structure
  • Chapter 7: Curriculum and Instruction
    • Introduction (authored by the National High School Center and the Center on Instruction)
    • Using Response to Intervention (authored by the Center on Instruction)
    • Choosing and Implementing Technology Wisely
    • Accelerating Instruction in Reading: Grades 9-12
    • Accelerating Instruction in Mathematics: Grades 9-12
    • Providing Advanced Coursework in High Schools
    • Implementing Competency-Based Instruction in High School
  • Chapter 8: Scheduling and Learning Time
    • Introduction (authored by the Center on Instruction)
    • Restructuring and Extending the School Day
    • Increasing Time-on-Task and Student Engagement
  • Chapter 9: Student Supports
    • Introduction (authored by the Center on Instruction)
    • Addressing Middle to High School Transitions
    • Strategies that Build Relationships

“Understanding & Implementing the New Regulations for the Title I School Improvement Grants, Part III:  Implications for High School Improvement” Presentation

  • Crosswalk of Documents Informing Dropout Prevention for use by New Hampshire Educators
    This document provides a crosswalk between New Hampshire’s Vision for Redesign, the Institute for Education Science’s Dropout Prevention Practice Guide, and the National Dropout Prevention Center’s 15 Effective Strategies for improving high school graduation rates. Each of these documents was informed by different types of “evidence” and designed with a different purpose in mind. This crosswalk is intended to provide an overview of the principles, recommendations and strategies in these three documents and identify common areas.
  • Systemic High School Redesign: Building a Minnesota Model Framework
    This framework, developed by the Minnesota Department of Education in conjunction with NCCC (North Central Comprehensive Center)/McREL (Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning) is intended to assist high schools with their high school improvement initiatives. The framework lists ideal characteristics of the research-based five core components for high school improvement. For each of the characteristics, the framework provides lists of possible tools to measure these characteristics, potential strategies for implementation, possible resources to explore, and advisor guidance. Supporting individual high school improvement plans is a priority, yet one redesign model does not fit all schools.
  • A Unifying Framework for School Improvement
    This framework, based on research from Fred Newmann, provides key components to improving schools and their relationship to each other, ultimately leading to increased student achievement.

U.S. Department of Education's School Improvement Fund Web page

 

 

Additional Resources

Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs With Appropriate Interventions
This report outlines steps that schools can take to identify at-risk students and provide the necessary support systems and relevant interventions to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma. Further, the report discusses the use of early warning data systems to target interventions for groups and individual students, offers a variety of best practice approaches undertaken by higher-performing high schools, and presents effective programs that are currently being implemented to stem the dropout problem.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Using ARRA Funds to Drive High School Improvement
To help states and districts, policy makers, educators and other interested stakeholders understand the provisions of ARRA and how to use the appropriated funds, the National High School Center has organized its resources around the four ARRA core reforms as guidance for how to apply ARRA so that it has the greatest impact on high school improvement.

Developing Early Warning Systems to Identify Potential High School Dropouts
The following two resources are intended to support educators at all levels of the public school system in building data systems that identify probable high school dropouts before they leave school.

  • Developing Early Warning Systems to Identify Potential High School Dropouts [Early Warning System Guide]
    This guide discusses the factors that help predict the probability that individual students will eventually drop out of high school prior to graduating and includes step-by-step instructions for building an early warning system.
  • Early Warning System Tool (Excel file)
    This tool allows educators to input student-level data and automatically calculate whether individual students are on track to graduate or at risk of dropping out. (Please maximize the document’s screen in Excel in order to access all the spreadsheet tabs in the tool.)

Educating English Language Learners at the High School Level: A Coherent Approach to District- and School-Level Support
This practitioner issue brief outlines successful strategies and recommendations for state-level policymakers, administrators, schools, and districts that are based on a 5-year evaluation study on the learning environment for ELLs in the state of California. This brief offers four critical building blocks that should be in place to effectively educate ELLs: implementing a well-defined, rigorously structured plan of instruction; ensuring that teachers are skilled in addressing the needs of ELLs; systematically using data to assess teaching and learning; and regularly adjusting instructional planning on the basis of student performance.

Report on Key Practices and Policies of Consistently Higher Performing High Schools
This National High School Center report focuses on successful high schools, highlighting the ways in which many superintendents, principals, and teachers are setting and meeting high expectations for all students. Developed specifically for state leaders, it provides them with suggestions on how they may support initiatives that are linked with accelerated learning.

State-Level High School Improvement Systems Checklist
This checklist is designed to help states at various stages develop their system of support to reach struggling high schools. The checklist can be used to assess where your state is in terms of the elements of using existing support and guidance mechanisms, and reconfiguring and/or creating new structures to leverage system change for high school improvement. The elements listed in the checklist may be helpful in establishing or refining your state’s education planning and implementation process.

Using the Right Data to Determine if High School Interventions Are Working to Prepare Students for College and Careers
This report is designed to guide educators in collecting and analyzing valuable student achievement data that can help them determine if and how high school interventions for underprepared students are working to effectively prepare them for college and careers. The report was authored by Chrys Dougherty, a senior research scientist at the National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA), which is a partner of the National High School Center.

What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on Students with Disabilities
Freshman year course performance—more than background characteristics such as race, gender, socioeconomic status or prior achievement—predict which students with disabilities are most at risk for dropping out of high school, according to a new report from the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research and the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. The report found that absences, course failures, course credits and GPA all can be used to accurately predict whether ninth-graders with disabilities will graduate from high school. Identifying these early warning indicators is especially crucial for students with disabilities, who drop out of high school at alarming rates.

 

For more information and resources on high school improvement, please visit our High School Improvement Web pages.