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Oklahoma's lowest performing schools split $36.9M in federal grants

Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett says that grants for Oklahoma City, Crutcho and Tulsa schools could be 'transformative' for urban districts.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND Published: July 15, 2010
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The state Department of Education awarded school districts with 10 of Oklahoma's lowest-performing schools $36.9 million in federal grants to turn the schools around.

The grants were approved during a special meeting Wednesday so schools could implement sweeping reforms this summer, state schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett said.

"This could really be transformative for urban districts," Garrett said.

Oklahoma City Public Schools received $12.1 million for three schools: U.S. Grant High School, Douglass Middle School and F.D. Moon Elementary School.

Tulsa Public Schools received $22.6 million for six schools: Clinton and Gilcrease middle schools, and Central, East Central, Nathan Hale and Will Rogers high schools.

And Crutcho Elementary School in northeast Oklahoma County will receive $2.24 million.

All the improvement proposals generally included increased time for students in school, longer school years, teacher performance pay based on an evaluation system, and removing administrators who had been at the school for longer than two years.

For one Oklahoma City school, the plan also meant removing half of the school's teachers.

Garrett said oversight for the money will be substantial. Districts will report monthly on academic gains and how the funds are spent.

A majority of the money came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Schools identified as chronically underperforming had to compete for the grants.

There were 43 Oklahoma schools eligible to apply for the grants and 19 submitted proposals.

U.S. Grant in Oklahoma City, which proposed the most drastic school reform plan in the state, received the greatest single allocation: $5.09 million over three years.

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AT A GLANCE

Oklahoma City grant applications

These are some of the most significant reforms proposed in the Oklahoma City grants proposal for $12.1 million, and those that will affect students and teachers at the three schools. Some proposals are still awaiting approval by the district school board or teacher's union.

Douglass Middle School, $3.08M

• 30 minutes longer school day (awaiting approval).

• 18 extra days of school (awaiting approval).

• A continuous learning calendar that shortens summer and lengthens breaks.

• Reading and math teachers will receive $50 per student who scores proficient or advanced on the CRT (awaiting approval).

• $6,000 bonus for teachers if goals are met for reading and math standardized tests (awaiting approval).

• $3,000 bonus for teachers who meet the 98 percent teacher attendance rate (awaiting approval).

F.D. Moon Academy, $3.96M

• New principal Marionette Gibson was assigned.

• 60 minutes longer school day (awaiting approval).

• 15 extra days of school for students in need of remediation (awaiting approval).

• $50 bonuses per student proficient or advanced on standardized tests for reading, math and special education teachers (awaiting approval).

• $6,000 bonuses for each teacher if goals are met for reading and math standardized tests (awaiting approval).

U.S. Grant High School, $5.09M

• 60 minutes longer school day from 7:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. (awaiting approval).

• $1,500 signing bonus for teachers signing 3-year contracts.

• $1,500 annual bonus for teachers each year goals in math and reading tests are met (awaiting approval).

• Spanish language courses for all teachers for six weeks each semester.

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