Fourteen Michigan schools received a total of $40 million in the fifth and final round of federal School Improvement Grants. The grant program was authorized under the 51-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA is being replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the grants will not continue.
The funds are going to 14 schools in the bottom five percent of the state's annual Top-to-Bottom rankings. About 40 schools applied for funds. Each school will receive up to $750,000 over the next five years to implement programs that improve student performance.
Kenyauno Jones, Principal of Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School, says the school's vision helped it win the grant. He says students' social and academic skills have lagged through recent administration changes and upheavals in Detroit Public Schools. The funding will give students extra support they need to catch up.
"We have an initiative to bring in smaller learning communities, more centered towards those students and their needs," says Jones.
Detroit Collegiate Preparatory Academy has a ninth grade success academy, a STEM academy, and an entrepreneurship academy. Jones says the grant will free up other money to reduce classroom size, hire a parent liaison to bring in more parent support, and partner with businesses in the community for mentoring and internships.