The Louisiana Department of Education approved the plans of 44 school systems to improve persistently struggling schools, marking the completion of a two-part school redesign grant process, the department announced today.
The action is paired with the distribution of $15 million in additional funding for schools, of which Baton Rouge schools will receive $2.24 million, pending approval by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education at its June 20 meeting.
The Every Student Succeeds Act requires all states to identify struggling schools and award set-aside dollars to school systems that have strong evidence-based plans for improvement.
In Louisiana, a school is considered to be struggling if it earns a school performance rating of D or F—the two lowest grades in the accountability system—for three consecutive years or has a graduation rate lower than 67%, which is about 11 percentage points lower than the state average. Currently, 272 schools, or about 20% of all public schools in Louisiana, fit this definition.
This year, school systems were asked to submit plans in one of two rounds. In the first, 32 school systems submitted plans, with 19 receiving approval and funding. In the second, 59 school systems, including those denied in round one, submitted plans, with 41 receiving approval and funding, three earning approval but no funding, and 15 receiving neither approval or funding. Moving forward, a single School Redesign Grant cycle will be repeated annually.