School & District Management Opinion

School Improvement RFP of the Week (2): Do You Offer California a Strategy from Column A, B or C?

By Marc Dean Millot — June 17, 2008 3 min read
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From Monday’s issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets ReportAnnouncement: School Improvement Grant Due June 30 (Jun 11) California Department of Education

Their Description:

Section 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the School Improvement Fund (SIF), authorizes funds to help LEAs address the needs of schools in improvement, corrective action, and restructuring in order to improve student achievement. In conjunction with funds reserved under section 1003(a), SIFs are to be used to leverage change and improve technical assistance under sections 1116 and 1117 of Title I, Part A through LEAs targeting activities towards measurable outcomes as described in this document....

An estimated $58 million in funding has been allocated for new 2008-09 SIF grants to serve schools in PI Year 5+ and is available on a competitive basis.... LEAs with public and charter schools in PI (Program Improvement status) Year 5+ in the current school year, based on 2007 state testing (Standardized Testing and Reporting [STAR]) results, are eligible to apply for the SIF grant. We estimate that 106 LEAs with 319 schools in this status will be eligible to apply....

Eligible LEAs that submit an application... must implement one or more of the following general strategies....

1. Build the capacity of the LEA to provide leadership and support to school staff to improve teaching and learning....

2. Utilize research-based strategies to improve instructional practice...

3. Create partnerships with the RSDSS (Regional System of District and School Support) and other CDE (California Department of Education) approved education service agencies....

4. Implement other strategies determined appropriate....

Within each of these general strategies, the CDE has identified more specific research- and evidence-based strategies for improving student achievement.... provided in Appendix A of this RFA.... [E]ach applicant should select... at least one strategy listed under each of the first three ED strategy categories....

PI Year 5+ schools... will be expected to work with the RSDSS, county offices of education (COEs), or CDE-approved SAIT providers and use a model of school improvement in concert with other evidence-based improvement strategies similar to the model used by SAITs. A SAIT assists a school, working with a District/School Liaison Team (DSLT), to identify gaps and deficiencies in the school’s educational program.... Once this has occurred, the SAIT continues to work with the school and the DSLT to fully implement the nine EPCs in order to make the instructional program one where students can meet and exceed academic standards....

All grant funds allocated for each school must be used to provide services of direct benefit to students at the school site.... Grant funds may be used for staff salaries, materials, services, training, equipment, supplies, evaluation, facilities, external assistance, or other purposes, except as specifically limited by statute or by the CDE....

The CDE requires that at least ten percent of the SIF grant funds to schools be allocated to contract for technical assistance by a COE/RSDSS or a CDE-approved external provider to provide these services.... Programs may not use SIF funds to pay for existing levels of service funded from any other source.

My Thoughts: This is an alphabet soup of agencies and organizations. I’m still not completely sure of the extent to which the private sector can take advantage of this RFP, and the proposal makes no effort to help the reader.

Moreover, the Chinese-dinner style menu of this RFP is an interesting approach to diagnosis and prescription for California’s most challenged schools and districts.

K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report is a comprehensive weekly web-enabled report delivered by email on Monday. It covers grant and contract RFPs issued by every federal and state education and social services agency and every school district over the internet.

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