School Improvement Grants Integrate Publishers and Providers, Focus on Professional Development
(PRESS RELEASE) Stamford, CT - June 7, 2011 - Broad based opportunities are unfolding from the U.S. federal stimulus program School Improvement Grants, which is placing a heavy focus on professional development for the 5,000 lowest performing schools across the nation and allocating an additional $3 billion. Market research firm Simba Information finds in its latest report, PreK-12 School Improvement Opportunities 2011, that PreK-12 publishers and providers of instructional materials, software and services are adapting their business models and are teaming up with program implementation partners.
A fresh investment from the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's School Improvement Grants program changes the focus from curriculum overhaul to changes in climate and operations, including leadership and teaching staff, placing an additional $3 billion for the lowest performing schools across the United States. The report finds schools that are implementing the different intervention models are contracting with implementation partners, who are putting a heavy emphasis on professional development.
"The real focus of the program is to change the way a school operates and professional development is a key element to attaining this end," noted Kathy Mickey, senior analyst at Simba Information and author of the report. "For example, JFK Elementary in Boston used its funds to provide training on effective use of technological tools and interactive whiteboards, including laptops and LCD projectors."
Many states have begun compiling lists of approved vendors of instructional materials, software and services for School Improvement Grants. Publishers and instructional material, software and service providers have scrambled to get their services and programs on these lists, focusing on broader solutions than traditional offerings, according to the report.
"There's a heavy amount of partnership and acquisition activity among the publishers and providers, including Pearson's acquisition of America's Choice and Schoolnet, and Turning Technologies' formation of the School Improvement Alliance," added Mickey. "Every provider of services for the PreK-12 market has a stake in this program."