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PreK-12 School Improvement Opportunities 2011

PreK-12 School Improvement Opportunities 2011 is a state-of-play market briefing that examines the unique opportunity offered to publishers of textbooks and providers of educational materials, tools and services by the expanded federal funding of the U.S. Department of Education’s School Improvement Grants program for lowest-performing schools. In the process, SIG, and other federal programs like Race to the Top, are helping disrupt traditional business models and processes in the educational publishing industry.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the federal stimulus plan, the Obama administration poured about $4 billion in funding into school improvement and redirected the focus to the worst-performing schools.

As a result, most states are compiling lists of approved external providers for schools to work with. While there is great variation in the lists, it creates a competitive landscape and typically reflect a mix of in-state educational agencies, universities, non-profit organizations and commercial technology and educational services and materials vendors as wide-ranging as America’s Choice, Edison Learning, Cambium Learning, Learning Point Associates, Mosaica Education, Success for All Foundation and Wireless Generation.

The demands of the School Improvement Grants opportunity has sparked changing business models and acquisitions, particularly among the largest publishers such as Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, while McGraw-Hill, Scholastic and Renaissance Learning are among publishers partnering or reorganizing internally to pursue the opportunities.

From SIG specifically, one lesson is that traditional publishers and software providers are facing increasing competition from newly formed companies based on educational management know-how and instructional strategy prowess, as well as from providers of data analysis services that have moved into the education space.

PreK-12 School Improvement Opportunities 2011 looks at where the greatest opportunities are for publishers of textbooks and providers of instructional materials, tools and services. Opportunities in instructional programs exist particularly under the transformation and turnaround models. Remediation, enrichment, differentiated learning and response to intervention are components, as is integration of technology.

Case studies at schools in Miami, Bridgeport, Conn., Yakima, Wash. and Boston demonstrate how school leaders are prioritizing educational needs and how spending on instructional materials and professional development fits into school improvement plans. Publishers featured in the case studies include Apex Learning, Scholastic, Carnegie Learning Bridge and others.

The very persistence of the problem creates an ongoing need. Whether the response in the future is Schools Improvement Grants or some other program, the federal government, states and local school districts will continue to attack the problem.


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."

The report, PreK-12 School Improvement Opportunities 2011 is a market briefing on the unique opportunities offered to publishers and providers of educational materials, tools and services through the School Improvement Grant program. It demonstrates how business models have changed to adapt to the program, as well as where the market opportunities are presenting themselves, along with several case studies on how changes have been implemented.

  • Methodology
  • Executive Summary
  • Overview
    • Introduction
    • ARRA Honed SIG Focus
      • Table Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools Tiers
      • Miami and Rose City (Ark.) M.S. Exemplify Early Stage
  • Market Landscape
    • Introduction
      • Table School Improvement Grants Landscape At-a-Glance
      • Awards by Tiers
        • Table School Districts with More than Five Schools Awarded School Improvement Grants
      • High Schools Capture Most SIG Awards
      • School SIG Awards Varied in Amount
        • Table Per-Student Grant Amounts Top 10 California Districts
    • Schools Must Pick Among Four Intervention Models
      • Restart and School Closure Attract Few Schools
      • Turnaround Shakes Up Educators
        • Table Characteristics and Use of Four Intervention Models
        • Table Intervention Models Used in Florida
      • Transformation Model Dominates
        • Table States Exclusively Using Transformation Model
  • Funding
    • Introduction
    • School Improvement Grants Grow from 2007
      • Table School Improvement Grants
      • Table School Improvement Grants Allocations, 2010-2012P
    • Other Federal Funding Helps Schools Improve
      • Table 50 Largest School Improvement Grants*
  • Competitive Landscape
    • Introduction
      • Table Selected Topical Opportunities Under School Improvement Intervention Models*
    • Opportunity Is Heavy on Services
      • Edison Learning Leads Change in Hawaii
      • State Agencies Provide Support Services
    • Opportunity in Curriculum and Instruction
      • Reading Strategies Is Focus at Barnum Elementary School
      • Using PD to Improve Instruction at JFK Elementary in Boston
        • Table John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Boston SIG-Related Proposed Budget, 2010-2011
    • State Vendor Lists Show Variation
      • Alabama Creates Two Vendor Lists
      • Illinois: Districts Must Have Lead Partner
        • Table Michigan Approved School Improvement Providers
      • Ohio Cast Wide Net for Assistance
      • Michigan Approves 56 External Providers
    • Publishers Are Adapting to the Demand
      • Pearson Acquires America's Choice
      • Pearson Adds Schoolnet
      • McGraw-Hill Forms School Improvement Solutions Team
      • Clicking for School Improvement
      • HMH Grows Professional Development through Acquisition
      • Scholastic Targets Math
  • Case Studies
    • Introduction
    • Miami Central Senior High School
      • Miami Central Senior High School Background
      • SIG Grant Brings More Changes
      • Changing Role for Teachers and Technology
    • Warren G. Harding High School
      • History of Harding High School
      • Problems in Need of Solutions
      • Path to School Improvement
      • Work Begins in the 2010-2011 School Year
      • Teachers Step Up
    • Washington Middle School
      • Washington Middle School Background
      • Climate Change Begins
      • Intervention for Reading and Math
      • Professional Development Emphasized
  • Conclusions and Outlook
    • Introduction
    • Funding loses ARRA Boost
      • Table Approved School Improvement Grant Awards
    • Competing for Dollars
      • Hagan Proposes STAR Act
      • Murray Proposes LEARN Act
    • New Year, New Lists
      • Alabama Has New List of Persistently Lowest-Performing Schools
      • Tennessee Exemplifies Ongoing Need
    • Lessons from Schools in Intervention Status

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