Descriptions of State-Developed Alternative Intervention Models for School Improvement Grants in Colorado, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Texas

School Improvement Grants are provided by the Department of Education to state education agencies that, in turn, award competitive subgrants to local education agencies that demonstrate (a) the greatest need for the funds and (b) the strongest commitment to use the funds in ways that will substantially raise the achievement of students in the state’s lowest-performing schools. The purpose of this report is to describe several state-developed alternative intervention models approved by the Department of Education.

The five states featured in this report have seized this opportunity and created state-determined models that target specific needs of their school districts and schools.

  • Colorado’s Secondary School Success Model focuses on high schools and includes dual enrollment in postsecondary level courses, thematic learning academies, credit recovery and intervention programs, and re-engagement strategies.
  • Minnesota’s State Model requires schools that implement it to (a) address school leadership issues; (b) have school staff receive intensive TA to address institutionalized race-, income-, cultural-, and/or language-based inequities in student academic opportunities and outcomes, student and teacher behaviors, and student discipline policies and practices; and (c) use data to identify and implement an instructional program that targets at least one full academic content area, among other requirements.
  • In New York State, the Innovation Framework Model provides three options: the College Pathways School Design and the CTE School Design target middle schools and high schools, while the Community-Oriented Design is aimed at all school levels. In the College Pathway School Design, schools must partner with IHEs, which provide students the opportunity to earn tuition-free college credits along with a high school diploma. The CTE School Design focuses on postsecondary education and career development through rigorous academic content that is closely tied to career/technical subject matter.
  • Using a totally different approach, Rhode Island’s School Empowerment Model provides complete transparency between the school, district, and RIDE. Through this model, school leadership can make autonomous decisions regarding school budget, staffing, as well as curriculum and instruction.
  • The Texas Education Agency chose to focus its efforts on expanding its Early College High School program. As part of this model, participating high schools provide dual credit at no cost to students and offer rigorous instruction and accelerated courses as well as academic and social support services for all students.

Although the five states discussed in this report are using varied approaches, there is one overarching goal—to raise student  achievement in the lowest-performing schools.