Education Week - June 10, 2015 - (Page 17)

Federal Aid Fuels Multi-Tiered Instruction By Alyson Klein High Point, N.C. Parkview Village Elementary Expressive Arts Magnet School was about a year into a homegrown turnaround effort when it got a nearly $1.2 million federal School Improvement Grant, aimed at improving low-performing schools. The school's new principal, Wayne Mayo, had a record of bolstering achievement at high-poverty, highminority schools elsewhere in the state. The grant gave him tools to more fully carry out his vision at Parkview-part of North Carolina's Guilford County district-beginning in the 2013-14 school year. Just a small handful of the school's roughly two dozen teachers elected to stay on for the federally funded turnaround, and Mr. Mayo was able to offer new recruits signing bonuses of up to $2,500. Mr. Mayo also amped up the school's focus on using data to improve student achievement. And the school embraced extended learning time; it added 10 days to the school year, plus an extra week of teacher professional development. It also extended the school day by 45 minutes-and students get started learning with a drop-everythingand-read period while they eat their free breakfast. "If people can sit in restaurants and read a mag- azine, children can read and eat in the morning," Mr. Mayo joked. But the schedule is demanding, Mr. Mayo acknowledged, and he thinks it contributed to the school's teacher-absenteeism rate, which he pegged at about 20 percent. "We have teachers that get burned out, coming in early and staying late," Mr. Mayo said. The school lost seven teachers after the first year of the sig grant, in part because staff members were no longer eligible for retention bonuses for serving in hard-to-staff schools, after changes were made to the district's teacher-incentive program. But the school is participating in another federal grant aside from sig: Race to the Top aid for districts. In Guilford County, the program includes an initiative aimed at educating African-American boys. At Parkview, the initiative has helped shape an alternative approach to discipline called "the Prickly Paw program," named in honor of the school's mascot, a panther. Instead of suspension, a student might spend time cleaning up the school grounds, for instance. Meanwhile, the school's academic growth rate beat the state average in the 2013-14 school year. "The culture of the school has changed," Mr. Mayo said. ENROLLMENT 72,200 20,000 students 67% gies came with a sweetener: three years of robust federal funding. Ms. Gorham was able to bring in consultants to help her teachers with classroom management and student behavior, and give the school a hand in implementing singlegender classes. But, when Ms. Gorham got to Allen, she had a much smaller of pot of money, about $450,000 in extra funds under a special local program. That meant she had to make some difficult choices, including scaling back the school's social worker from full- to part-time, to pay for additional instructional coaches. Allen Middle School did, however, take advantage of another major federal funding stream. Like Iredell-Statesville, Guilford got a $30 million grant under Race to the Top for districts, which was used to buy 1-to-1 tablets and better customize instruction to individual students. Now, the program is at every middle school in the district. The initiative hasn't been without its problems. After a fast, aggressive rollout, Guilford temporarily halted the program, amid hardware challenges. The early days were particularly tough on turnaround schools like Allen Middle. "We were trying to reculture the school, and it was too much," Ms. Gorham said. "It created more time away from instruction, ... and we needed to be able to focus on the essential instruction that we needed." She was grateful that the district hit the pause button and restarted the 1-to-1 initiative, with the help of its vendor, Amplify. It's operated much more smoothly this time around, she said. (Larry Berger, the president of Amplify Learning, is a trustee of Education Week's parent company.) And overall, Ms. Gorham sees the tablets as a net positive and a huge motivating tool for her students. But learning to teach with 45% RACIAL MAKEUP 2014-15 SCHOOL YEAR LATE SPRING 2015 African-American White Hispanic Asian Other 41% 4.5 5.8 13.5 35.2 12 6 14 68% GRANTS AND FUNDS RACE T0 THE TOP DISTRICTS Awarded: December 2012 Ends: December 2016  $30 million technology initiative $  5 million supplemental grants, including: - Initiative to improve outcomes for AfricanAmerican boys - V irtual middle school $  20 million technology initiative RACE T0 THE TOP (PORTION OF STATE'S GRANT) Awarded: August 2010 Ends: June 2015 P  artially used to upgrade district technology  T echnically ended in June 2014, but North Carolina and most other states received a oneyear, no-cost extension SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANT North Carolina's average. Now, Ms. Gorham, who was named Guilford County's principal of the year in 2014-15, is trying to replicate that success at Allen Middle, using some of the same strategies, but without the federal dollars. Guilford has used sig funding, which requires districts to choose from a menu of intensive turnaround strategies, at four schools. The district borrowed some of those ideas for its own locally financed turnaround efforts at a few schools, including Allen Middle, now in its second year of the district's improvement program. Like one of the federal options, Guilford's homegrown approach calls for getting rid of a school's principal, if that person has been on the job for more than a year without progress; extending instructional time; and replacing at least half the staff. At Wiley Elementary, those dramatic, politically prickly strate- students PERCENT FREE/ REDUCED-PRICE LUNCH $20 million SIG Money Gives Principal Tools for Turnaround IREDELL-STATESVILLE SCHOOLS $1.7 million The Iredell-Statesville school district had dabbled in the multi-tiered instructional strategy known as "response to intervention" before it received a federal Investing in Innovation grant to go all in on rti. But its scattershot past approach had left some educators skeptical of the strategy. District leaders needed to show that the i3 grant would mean a much deeper and more systematic implementation. So they dressed up as characters from "Men in Black," a comedy movie about aliens that features mind-erasing federal agents. "Forget everything you ever knew about rti," they told staff members at the handful of schools tapped to pilot the new strategies-a signal that the district was hitting the reset button on rti. More than four years later, Iredell-Statesville is in the last stages of implementing the grant. The i3 money helped nearly every school in the district pinpoint students' strengths and weaknesses, using a GUILFORD COUNTY SCHOOLS $35 million Statesville, N.C. AT A GLANCE $9.6 million By Alyson Klein mix of assessments, including North Carolina's endof-grade-tests, classroom performance, and a diagnostic tool, financed by the grant. Schools across the district have rejiggered their schedules to give students time for "intervention"- a chance to work on the skills that are tripping them up the most-or enrichment. In the classroom, students are often grouped according to the skill they need extra help on, especially at the elementary level. On a Monday in early May, for instance, students in Tracey Cauble's 4th grade class at Celeste Henkel Elementary School were all working on language arts. But one group of students was using flashcards to improve fluency, while another was looking up words that were likely to show up on the state's grade-level common-core-aligned tests. Other students were combing through a nonfiction passage with Ms. Cauble. In another group-of the highest fliers-students were lying on their stomachs on the floor, their heads buried in The Egypt Game-a book Ms. Cauble's own children didn't tackle until middle school.  artially used P to upgrade connectivity, improve leadership, and for curriculum review and planning INVESTING IN INNOVATION GRANT $10.5 million $4.9 million  Began in the 2010-11 school year  Most funding ends in 2014, but one grant goes through 2016 A  warded in the fall of 2010 G  rant ends in the fall 2015 TEACHER QUALITY GRANTS $4.1 million  Began in the 2009-10 school year  Funding runs out in 2016 TEACHER INCENTIVE FUND $31 million  Included $8 million between 2006-07 and $23 million from 2010-11 to 2014-15  F unding technically runs out this year, though the district received a no-cost extension through 2016 SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education; Iredell-Statesville and Guilford County school districts PAGE 18 > EDUCATION WEEK | June 10, 2015 | | 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - June 10, 2015

Education Week - June 10, 2015
Cleveland Embraces Social- Emotional Learning
Challenge of Co-Teaching A Special Education Issue
As Federal Grants Taper Off, Two N.C. Districts Tally Impact
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: N.Y. ‘Open’ Content Going Nationwide
School Choice Supercharged In Nev. Statute
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Debate Persists Around Kindergarten Reading Standards
New York Expanding Dual Language to Help Its English- Learners
Schools, Students Hit Hard by California’s Historic Drought
Blogs of the Week
Massachusetts School Transforms Renovation Into Teachable Moment
Magnet Schools Found to Boost Diversity—But Only a Bit
Survey: Students Need More Than Academic Prowess
Education Policy Issues In Arizona Crossfire
Congress Appears Poised to Tackle Higher Education Issues
SIG Money Gives Principal Tools For Turnaround
Federal Aid Fuels Multi-Tiered Instruction
Additional Entrants Join Presidential Race
High Court Rules in Online Threat, Religious Rights Cases
A Movement Gains Momentum
What Teachers Are Saying
Parents Have a Civil Right To Question Testing’s Goal
Parents See Testing’s ‘Distorting Impact’
What Are the Policy Implications of the Opt-Out Movement?
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
An Early Opt-Out

Education Week - June 10, 2015