For Immediate Release
October 17, 2012

Illinois State Board of Education awards $39.4 million in School Improvement Grants

State awards federal funds to reform seven schools in three districts

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education announced it has awarded more than $39.4 million under the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) Program to help seven schools in three districts make comprehensive changes to improve student performance and ensure college readiness. These new awardees join 20 schools in eight districts in Illinois that are already undergoing such work under School Improvement Grant funding.

“This grant program requires that we select only those schools most committed to take on dramatic transformation initiatives to improve their schools,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “We will continue to work closely with these selected schools and districts as they undergo very complex and comprehensive change to ensure students are prepared to succeed in college and careers.”

Chairman Chico will visit two SIG schools this week: Eisenhower High School in Decatur today (Wednesday) and Sandoval Jr./Sr. High School, 63 miles of East St. Louis, on Thursday. Both received SIG Grants last year, in FY12. Grants are awarded for three years pending re-application and state approval each year.

For each eligible school approved to receive funds under this grant, the district must implement one of four intervention models: Turnaround, Restart, Transformation or School Closure, as approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Money will be allocated to each of the three FY13 districts with the bulk of the money going toward the reform strategy at the specific schools and a smaller portion of funds going toward district oversight.

Eight districts submitted a total of 16 proposals on behalf of eligible schools. A team of six national external reviewers, selected for their expertise in high school reform work and administrative experience, scored the applications to determine finalists. ISBE staff then interviewed administrators from finalist schools as part of the selection process. The Board approved the seven selected schools and three districts during the summer, and districts have begun receiving funds and implementing new practices.

“We’re ecstatic that we were chosen,” said Cahokia CUSD 187 Superintendent Arthur Ryan. “We have a lot of challenges, but this funding will help us address the needs of our students and improve our system so that we’re able to meet those challenges and ensure all our students are prepared to succeed in college and careers.”

The SIG districts are required to work with one of 16 organizations, called Lead Partners, that has been pre-approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. The state agency will also provide technical assistance during the process, and each district will have to re-apply for continued annual funding with the Fiscal Year 2013 awardees re-applying FY2014 and FY2015.

This year marks the third round of districts to apply and receive School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds authorized under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA SIG) funds.  In total, 27 schools in 10 districts across the state have been awarded funds, totaling more than $148.1 million. For a list of schools awarded funds during the past three fiscal years, please visit this ISBE School Improvement Grant web page:

The following three districts and seven schools are approved to receive funding over the grant’s three year period:

District Name
School Name
Type of Intervention Model
Total Award
(3 Years)

City of Chicago School District 299





Chicago Vocational Career Academy



Clemente Community High School



Bowen Environmental Studies High School



Bogan High School



Al Raby High School


Cahokia CUSD 187




Cahokia High School


East St Louis 187




East St Louis High School





Note* The Total Award reflects the award given to both the individual school and the LEA. Tier I and Tier II schools refer to the lowest achieving 5 percent of schools in the state.
Table Updated 10/23/12


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