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14 Priority Schools Receive Last School Improvement Grants

August 11, 2016

LANSING – Fourteen low-performing schools will use up to $40 million over the next five years to increase student achievement, in what is the final round of School Improvement Grants (SIG) nationwide, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced today.

The MDE is distributing the federal funds to the 14 Priority Schools, in the bottom 5 percent of the state’s annual Top-to-Bottom (TTB) rankings, as Michigan’s last SIG recipients.

This year’s fifth and final cohort of federal grants expires on September 30, 2021, because SIG funding, authorized under the 51-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was discontinued under its replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“While the SIG program will not continue under ESSA, SIG funding already was appropriated when the new law was passed, so states were allowed to hold a final competition for the funding,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “I’m pleased that 14 Michigan Priority Schools will use the grants to improve academics over the next five years.”

Receiving up to $750,000 a year in SIG funds for the next five years are:



Bay City School District

MacGregor Elementary School

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD)

Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School @ Northwestern


Earhart Elementary-Middle School


Osborn Academy of Mathematics

Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA)

Denby High School


Ford High School

Flint, School District of the City of

Southwestern Classical Academy

Godwin Heights Public Schools

Godwin Heights Senior High School

Kalamazoo Public Schools

Northeastern Elementary School

Lansing Public School District

North School

Litchfield Community Schools

Litchfield High School

Muskegon, Public Schools of the City of

Nelson Elementary School

Redford Union Schools, District No. 1

Beech Elementary

Vassar Public Schools

Vassar Senior High School


Eligible applicants for the final grants included any Title I-receiving or -eligible Priority or Focus School named in 2014 TTB rankings. Under MDE oversight, Focus Schools consist of the 10 percent of schools on the TTB list with the largest achievement gaps between its top 30 percent of students and its bottom 30 percent, based on average scale score.

All 14 schools in the final cohort are Priority Schools, now under the authority of the School Reform Office (SRO) in the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Federal regulations state that funds must be awarded to Priority Schools before Focus Schools.

The MDE received applications from 45 schools, and the total chosen was based on available funding.

Applications were peer-reviewed by individuals from MDE, local districts, intermediate school districts, and educational organizations.

SIG funded schools must implement one of six models:

  1. Turnaround
  2. Transformation
  3. School Closure
  4. Restart
  5. Evidence-based Whole School Reform
  6. Early Learning Intervention

Grants to EAA schools will follow them to their new districts in about a year. Then they must amend their approved application to reflect grant oversight and monitoring from the new district.

The MDE assigns monitors to grantees, and does year-end reviews. The monitor remains in the school building weekly for the first year or two, and may go to bi-weekly or monthly visits in succeeding years if implementation is going as expected.

MDE’s SIG portal is at