New Handbook Helps Education Agencies and Schools Maximize U.S. Department of Education Grants

Emphasis is on turnaround of low-performing schools.

San Francisco, CA March 3, 2016­– Educators who focus on turning around low-performing schools sometimes leave money on the table because of the complexity of pursuing federal grants. The Center on School Turnaround at WestEd hopes its new handbook, released today, will smooth the way for more of that grant money to be used in turnaround efforts.

In partnership with the Federal Education Group, PLLC, the center has developed a new handbook intended to support state education agencies in their role assisting districts and schools that seek federal grant funds for use in school turnaround activities.

A number of U.S. Department of Education (ED) formula grants, including those under Title I, Title II, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), can be used to support school turnaround. But many potential grantees pass them by.

“Complex rules and regulations surrounding ED formula grants can be challenging to navigate, so these grants are often overlooked as a funding source for turnaround efforts,” says Carlas McCauley, Director of the Center on School Turnaround at WestEd. “Even when these funding options are well understood, it can be challenging to use the funds effectively while still meeting compliance requirements. This handbook addresses those challenges.”

The handbook, Using Federal Education Formula Funds for School Turnaround Initiatives: Opportunities for State Education Agencies, lays out four strategies state education agencies can use to create the conditions for districts and schools to maximize ED formula grants for turnaround activities, including:

  1. Provide clear guidance aligned to turnaround activities
  2. Eliminate barriers to full use of schoolwide programs
  3. Focus on aligning spending to needs
  4. Build oversight processes that incentivize high-quality programming

Visit the Center on School Turnaround website for more information.

About WestEd

WestEd is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency that works with education and other communities throughout the United States and abroad to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults. WestEd has more than a dozen offices nationwide, from Massachusetts, Vermont, and Georgia, to Illinois, Arizona, and California, with headquarters in San Francisco. More information about WestEd is available at, Twitter, and Facebook.

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