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Oklahoma to receive $39 million for failing schools

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Oklahoma was awarded $39 million in federal School Improvement Grants to turn around the lowest performing schools, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday.

The bottom five percent of the state’s schools – most likely those who are on the federal “needs improvement list” – will be able to apply for the grants from the Oklahoma Department of Education.

School districts will have to select one of four plansto restructure the failing schools. They are:

→Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50 percent of the staff.

→Restart model: Close and reopen as a charter school or under independent management.

→Closure model: Close the school and enroll students in a higher achieving school.

→Transformation model: Replace the principal, institute comprehensive instructional reforms, implement longer school days, increase community participation and provide the principal with flexibility and support in curriculum and staffing.

Oklahoma City Public Schools has already announced it will seek the grant money for two of it’s schools that have been on the “needs improvement” list for four years: F.D. Moon Academy and U.S. Grant High School.

Half of the teachers at U.S. Grant were notified last week that they wouldn’t return to the school but would be relocated throughout the district. While discussions are ongoing at the combined middle and high school F.D. Moon Academy about which of the four models would be implemented.

There may be as many as 36 schools throughout the state that qualify for the funding, but they would have to apply.

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