The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is providing public notice to solicit comments from local education agencies and the public regarding specific waiver requests for School Improvement Grants authorized by section 1003(g) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Comments received will be forwarded to the United States Department of Education. MSDE will accept comments from December 6 through December 20, 2013 via electronic submission or U. S. mail. The State believes that by requesting specific waiver(s), local education agencies (LEAs) that receive a School Improvement Grant will have increased flexibility to improve the quality of instruction for students and the academic achievement of students in schools identified under the final requirements of Section 1003(g).
The final School Improvement Grant requirements, published in the Federal Register in October 2010, require school improvement funds to be focused on each state’s Tier I, Tier II and Tier III schools.
Tier I schools are a State’s persistently lowest-achieving Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, that are identified by the SEA under paragraph (a)(1) of the definition of persistently lowest achieving schools.
Tier II schools are a State’s persistently lowest-achieving secondary schools that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I, Part A funds. In addition, high schools that have had a graduation rate below 60 percent over a number of years may be identified as Tier II.
Tier III schools are any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that is not a Tier I school.
For any Tier I and Tier II schools an LEA chooses to serve, the LEA must implement one of four school intervention models: turnaround model, restart model, school closure, or transformation model.
Turnaround model - Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50 percent of the staff and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes.
Restart model - Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
School closure - Close a school and enroll the students who attended that school in other schools in the LEA that are higher achieving.
Transformation model - Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; and (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support.
Through its application for funding to the United States Department of Education, Maryland will seek the following State-level waivers:
- Waiver 1: New List Waiver
Because the State neither must nor elects to generate new lists of Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools, waive Sections I.A.1 and II.B.10 of the SIG final requirements to permit the State to use the same Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III list it used for its FY2010 competition.
Maryland is requesting this waiver to allow the identified Tier I and Tier II schools that were not served with FY2010 funds to benefit from FY 2013 SIG funds.
- Waiver 2: Period of Eligibility of FY 2013 funds
Waive section 412(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1225(b)) to extend the period of eligibility of FY 2013 school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2017.
Maryland is requesting this waiver to allow schools implementing a SIG model to continue implementation for three consecutive years thereby allowing schools and LEAs increased flexibility to improve the quality of instruction for students and the academic achievement of students in schools identified.
Upon approval of Maryland’s application, Maryland will release an application to all eligible LEAs for Title I 1003(g) school improvement funds. The following Local Education Agencies would be eligible for these waivers:
- Anne Arundel County--Tier I schools
- Baltimore City--Tier I, II, III schools
- Baltimore County--Tier III schools
- Dorchester County--Tier III
- Harford County--Tier III
- Prince George’s County--Tier I, Tier II, III schools
If you have specific comments regarding MSDE’s intent to submit these waiver requests, please send your comments via email to Tina McKnight, Interim Director, Program Improvement and Family Support at firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to Tina McKnight, Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building, 200 West Baltimore Street, 4th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2595. MSDE will accept comments between December 6, 2013 and December 20, 2013. Comments received will be forwarded to the United States Department of Education as part of our 1003(g) application. If you have any questions regarding the process, please feel free to contact Ms. McKnight by calling (410)767-0310.
Additional information about the Title I School Improvement Grant 1003(g) may be found on the United States Department of Education website www.ed.gov/programs/sif/index.html. Information can also be obtained from the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.