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Tennessee to receive federal funds to help improve schools

Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn. (MCT) • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:40 PM

Tennessee is one of seven states that will receive more than $43.4 million to continue efforts to turn around persistently low-achieving schools.

The funds — Tennessee will receive about $9.2 million — are part of the U.S. Department of Education’s School Improvement Grant program.

Tennessee’s funds, as well as those for Missouri, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Wisconsin, will be used to continue the third year of programs already now operating with help from the money.

The other two states, Arkansas and Kentucky, will receive funds to establish new competitions for previously unfunded schools in their states.

Of the seven states, only North Carolina is receiving more money than Tennessee — $13.6 million, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

School improvement grants are awarded to state education departments that then make competitive subgrants to school districts which demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to provide adequate resources to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools.

In Knox County, school improvement money has been used for a number of programs and incentives including $1.5 million awarded to Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Technology Academy last summer for the creation of a summer school academy, called SMG Boost Academy.

The academy, which had about 200 students participate, ran for about a month. In addition to academic classes that focused on math and reading, students were able to take a number of field trips.

Austin-East Performing Arts and Sciences Magnet High School also has benefited. The school provided technology for its students including 160 iPads for sophomores in English II classes.

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