State Invests Millions in Closing Achievement Gaps through Focus School Grants
The Tennessee Department of Education announced today the 56 winners of the Focus School grant competition, which will provide an estimated $19.2 million investment to schools across the state during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.
The winning schools will be awarded between $100,000 and $300,000 each year depending on enrollment size and satisfactory performance. The award will be used to create and sustain improvement plans that close student achievement gaps among subgroups, such as racial and ethnic groups, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities and English-language learners.
The grant program is designed to support Focus Schools – the 10 percent of schools in Tennessee with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students – in developing deliberate, data-driven strategies to ensure growth for student subgroups that have underperformed their peers.
“Using this grant, Tennessee’s Focus Schools will create real opportunities to close student achievement gaps while providing examples of success and lessons learned for all schools across the state,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.
The state named 167 Focus Schools in August, a part of Tennessee’s accountability system developed through its waiver from No Child Left Behind, and 152 of those Focus Schools applied for the grant.
School faculty, along with parents, outside experts and community partners, submitted plans in September based on the latest research in the areas of individualized student support, staff professional development, extended learning time, community engagement and performance management.
For those Focus Schools that were not awarded grant funds, the state plans to enlist the support of external academic specialists who will provide personalized, embedded technical assistance to Focus Schools as they work to close existing gaps.
Additional information regarding Focus Schools and the accountability system can be found at tn.gov/education/accountability.
For more information, contact Kelli Gauthier at (615) 532-7817 or Kelli.Gauthier@tn.gov.
2012-14 Focus School Grant Recipients
Waterville Community Elementary
Woodbury Grammar School
Valley Forge Elementary
East Chester Elementary
H.Y. Livesay Middle
Powell Valley Elementary
Holice Powell Elementary
East Junior High School
Fayetteville High School
Spring Hill Elementary
Union Heights Elementary
South Haven Elementary
New Market Elementary
John Sevier Middle
Ripley High School
Pearl Cohn High School
Ruby Major Elementary
Sweetwater High School
Moore Magnet School
St. Bethlehem Elementary
A.H. Roberts Elementary
Spring City Elementary
Peabody High School
East Middle School