U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 5, to listen to students, teachers and community leaders discuss the encouraging progress they have made, the challenges they have overcome and their goals for the future. The visit is part of Secretary Duncan's Partners in Progress tour, which highlights America's ingenuity in education at work. Northwest Middle School is a School Improvement Grant (SIG) recipient, and Duncan will recognize the promising gains that students have made and engage in a roundtable with members from the school community, as well as statewide leaders, to learn about their efforts.
Following a classroom visit, Duncan will participate in a roundtable discussion with local leaders, two students who have seen the changes in the school, two parent leaders, and a teacher. A media availability will follow the roundtable discussion.
The SIG program is a key component of the Department's strategy for helping states and districts turn around the nation's lowest-performing schools. Under the Obama Administration, more than 1,500 schools have implemented comprehensive turnaround interventions aimed at drastically improving achievement. Despite difficult learning environments, SIG schools have increased proficiency rates in math and reading since 2009, demonstrating the importance of targeted investments over time.
School Improvement Grants are awarded to state educational agencies that then make competitive subgrants to local educational agencies that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use them to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools. Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1,300 of the country's lowest-performing schools. Early findings show that many schools receiving SIG grants are improving, and some of the greatest gains have been in small towns and rural communities.