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U.S. Department of Education Initiatives

The U.S. Department of Education has developed several important federally-funded initiatives that impact high schools. The National High School Center provides synthesized information to help educators understand U.S. Department of Education guidelines for these initiatives, resources to help identify funding, and resources to track how the funds are currently being allocated.

Click on the titles below to access more National High School Center resources related to each initiative:

Proposed U.S. Department of Education Priorities and High Schools

In March 2010, President Obama and his administration released a blueprint plan for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The primary intent of the plan is to improve academic standards and support states in ensuring students become college- and career-ready. To further support the new blueprint goals for ESEA, on August 5, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education announced thirteen related proposed priorities that “the Department may use, as appropriate, for discretionary grant competitions in FY 2011 and future years.” These thirteen priorities fall under three broad categories: 1) advancing key cradle-to-career educational reforms; 2) addressing the needs of student subgroups; and, 3) building capacity for systemic continuous improvement.

The National High School Center has compiled examples of recent technical assistance (TA) responses that align to five of the new priority areas. These TA responses were developed by our TA Liaisons in reply to requests from Regional Comprehensive Centers (RCCs), and address issues related to high school improvement.

Title I School Improvement Grants and High School Improvement

School Improvement Grants are federal funds authorized under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to turn around low-performing schools and enable them to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) and improve exit status.  In 2009, ARRA greatly increased appropriations by providing $3 billion for new School Improvement Grants. Previously, the ESEA allocated $125 million in 2007 and $546 million in 2009. The SIG program represents one of most central initiatives to improve and turn around low-performing schools across the country.

The National High School Center has organized a tracking table of SIG awards to states and LEAs and a listing of related resources to help both state and local education agencies as they explore options for transforming low-performing high schools.