The State Department of Education announced it has awarded four Rochester City Schools an additional $500,000 in grant funding this year, a total of around $2.5 million each for these Priority Schools, or those among the state's lowest performing schools.
The schools can use the funding to make federally or state-designed changes intended to improve student outcomes.
This round of School Improvement Grants, or SIG 7 funding, was essential for city school No. 19 to enter into an Educational Partnership Organization, or EPO, with SUNY Geneseo.
That's according to School Board President Van White.
"That was a condition precedent, they required the SIG 7. If we got notice today the SIG 7 was denied for number 19, there would be no EPO at number 19," he said.
Instead, White says, School 19 gets a partnership with a top notch academic institution and their expertise, something that will benefit the entire district.
He says the EPO with the University of Rochester running East High has been a success and the board determined it would be worthwhile to create an elementary EPO.
The schools will implement a whole-school change model and superintendent Barbara Deane-Willliams says this is an opportunity to show that kind of approach can turn schools around.
"They're doing what needs to be done to focus resources in ways that allow us to identify what works, and bright spots," she said.
The state has doled out School Improvement Grants to 39 Priority Schools statewide, amounting to $95 million dollars.