Case Studies of Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants

Findings After the First Year of Implementation
Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
May 29, 2014
Authors
Kerstin Carlson Le Floch, Beatrice Birman, Jennifer O'Day, Steven Hurlburt, Diana Mercado-Garcia, Rose Goff, Karen Manship, Seth Brown, Susan Bowles Therriault, Linda Rosenberg, Megan Hague Angus, and Lara Hulsey
  • A number of factors caused low performance, including poor student behavior, an unsupportive school culture, poor instruction, and unstable or poor school leadership.
  • Schools implemented 11 improvement strategies and actions, many of them in line with federal SIG guidance.
  • All but one of the 25 schools reported improvement in the first year in at least some areas. 

This report examines the first year of federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) implementation in 25 low-performing schools. The study involves case studies of the school improvement process in schools receiving SIG funds over a three-year period (school years 2010–11 to 2012–13). Findings suggest that a number of factors caused low performance, including poor student behavior, an unsupportive school culture, poor instruction, and unstable or poor school leadership. However, schools reported implementing 11 improvement strategies and actions, many of them in line with federal SIG guidance, including increasing professional development activities, replacing the principal, and increasing learning time. Finally, all but one of the 25 schools reported improvement in the first year in at least some areas, most commonly school climate and teacher collaboration.