Are School Improvement Grants Making the Grade?

School Improvement Grants

University researchers are evaluating the New Jersey School Improvement Grant (SIG) Program. New Jersey is among nine states sharing more than $71 million in federal School Improvement Grants that aim to give underachieving schools the resources they need to succeed.

To ensure positive outcomes for students, the New Jersey Department of Education’s SIG program has contracted with Eden Kyse, director of the Center for Research and Evaluation on Education and Human Services (CREEHS), and Senior Research Associate Rebecca Swann- Jackson to lead a team to assess the statewide schools improvement program.

“CREEHS is analyzing the grant program’s impact on district, school and student outcomes such as achievement on state assessments and dropout and graduation rates, as well as examining the relationship between SIG implementation and outcomes,” explains Swann-Jackson. Since November 2013, the team, which also includes Research Associate Jessica Marini ’06, graduate students Alyssa Sceppeguercio, Kelsey Wilson and Alyssa Byrne and staff member Joyvin Benton, has visited 11 grantrecipient schools, where they conducted in-depth interviews with NJDOE, district and school administrators and led focus group discussions with teachers, school staff and parents.

Separately, Kyse and her team also have been evaluating New Jersey’s Charter School Grant program that aims to increase the number of highquality charter schools in the state.