Long Island, NY - December 31, 2014 - Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. announced today that Socioeconomic Integration Pilot Program grants of up to $1.25 million each will be used to increase student achievement in up to 25 of the state’s low-performing Priority and Focus Schools. The grants will support programs that will increase greater socio-economic integration.
“Sixty years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, far too many of our students remain trapped in lower-performing schools as a result of their socioeconomic status,” said Tisch. “The Court in Brown found that ‘separate educational facilities are inherently unequal’ – yet more than half a century later, we still see tremendous disparities in our schools along socioeconomic lines. New York will reach its full potential only when all students have equal access to exceptional schools.”
“Diverse schools create important educational opportunities,” King said. “They offer all children the opportunity to develop the kind of critical-thinking skills that come from the perspectives expressed by students from different backgrounds. These grants will help reduce socioeconomic isolation in New York’s schools by giving districts support to pilot innovative programs to increase school diversity while improving student achievement. The world is a diverse place; our students shouldn’t be isolated because they come from struggling neighborhoods.”
Title I Focus Districts with poverty rates of at least 60 percent and at least 10 schools in the district are eligible to apply for the grant. Up to 25 Title I Focus or Priority schools will be funded for this pilot program. The number of school applications a district may submit is limited based on the total number of schools in a district.
A district may apply for grant funds to implement one of several models intended to increase the achievement of low socioeconomic status (SES) students and attract higher SES students; models include providing school choice within the district and encouraging students from other school districts to voluntarily enroll in the Focus or Priority School, based on inter-district choice agreements. Program design may include, but is not limited, to:
- Dual Language programs designed to meet the needs and languages of English Language Learners (ELLs) living in proximity to the school;
- School-wide Enrichment Model;
- Career pathways programs based in whole or part at local institutions of higher education (IHE);
- STEM programs that include a summer residential experience of no less than 1 full week at a post-secondary institution;
- Themes such as the arts, which include the visual arts, dance, music, theater, public speaking and drama; or
- Montessori or other proven, student-centered educational models.
Successful applicants will:
- Engage community and stakeholders to develop the application and planning for implementation of the grant;
- Coordinate across proximate schools to ensure that increased socioeconomic integration in target schools does not result in increased socioeconomic isolation in other schools within the district;
- Develop a transportation plan to facilitate/enable participation by students from Title I Focus and Priority Schools and students from Non-Title I and Good Standing Schools;
- Develop a plan for professional development to support teachers to ensure their effectiveness in working in diverse classrooms; and
- Set school-specific diversity goals for Priority and Focus Schools with high concentrations of at risk low-SES students.
For each school participating in this three-year pilot program, districts may receive up to $1,250,000 in Federal School Improvement funds to support program planning and implementation. Up to $250,000 may be used for planning and the remaining funds may be used for implementation.
Districts must submit applications to the Department by February 13, 2015, with districts having the option to begin program implementation in either the 2015-16 or 2016-17 school year.
"We are extremely pleased to see the State Education Department addressing the issue of school diversity proactively,” said David Tipson, director of New York Appleseed, which advocates for school diversity in New York City public schools. “This is exactly the kind of leadership for the 21st century that is needed at all levels of government."
Philip Tegeler, president of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and a member of the National Coalition on School Diversity, explains, “This is really innovative thinking by New York State – creating new high quality schools and voluntary school transfer programs to attract students across school district lines, reduce racial and economic segregation and boost student achievement.”
All districts that successfully complete the application process for their eligible schools will be funded. The full grant description and application forms can be found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/funding/currentapps.html. For specific questions about the program, districts can e-mail SIGA@nysed.gov (link sends e-mail).
Following is the list of districts eligible to apply for the grant.