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A Historical Overview of School Improvement Grants

Michael Kohlhagen: A Historical Overview of School Improvement Grants

Experienced school administrator Michael Kohlhagen of the New York metropolitan area has served as superintendent or assistant superintendent of several school districts during his career. He most recently worked as superintendent of the Wethersfield Public Schools district in Connecticut. Currently, Mr. Kohlhagen focuses on completing his doctor of education degree from Columbia University in the City of New York and helps secure federal School Improvement Grants (SIGs) for school systems.

Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to state education agencies, SIGs provide critical funding to some of the nation’s lowest performing elementary and secondary schools. Initially established through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, SIGs were reauthorized under the provisions of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. The most recent round of SIGs, made available in February 2010, come from approximately $3.5 billion in Title I funding set aside through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Under the present system, school districts and local educational agencies identify the schools they want to transform most with SIGs to their state education agencies. Local districts and agencies must determine which of the four models (turnaround, restart, transformation, and school closure) they believe will best benefit the school or schools seeking the funding.

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A Historical Overview of School Improvement Grants

02-03-2011_10-45-36_47UAExperienced school administrator Michael Kohlhagen of the New York metropolitan area has served as superintendent or assistant superintendent of several school districts during his career. He most recently worked as superintendent of the Wethersfield Public Schools district in Connecticut. Currently, Mr. Kohlhagen focuses on completing his doctor of education degree from Columbia University in the City of New York and helps secure federal School Improvement Grants (SIGs) for school systems.

Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to state education agencies, SIGs provide critical funding to some of the nation’s lowest performing elementary and secondary schools. Initially established through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, SIGs were reauthorized under the provisions of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. The most recent round of SIGs, made available in February 2010, come from approximately $3.5 billion in Title I funding set aside through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Under the present system, school districts and local educational agencies identify the schools they want to transform most with SIGs to their state education agencies. Local districts and agencies must determine which of the four models (turnaround, restart, transformation, and school closure) they believe will best benefit the school or schools seeking the funding.

Michael Kohlhagen: Turning Around Struggling Schools – Part I




Michael Kohlhagen, who has worked as both a superintendent and an assistant superintendent, has dedicated his career to students’ success. In addition to working with teachers and staff members, Mr. Kohlhagen possesses considerable experience with securing educational grants, especially those from the U.S. Department of Education.

Working in conjunction with agencies at the state and local levels, the U.S. Department of Education has reserved $4 billion for its Title I School Improvement Grant initiative, which aims to drastically transform the lowest-performing institutions in the country. As President Barack Obama noted, “12% of America’s schools produce 50% of America’s dropouts.” The program challenges districts to reduce that dropout rate and thereby ensure our continued prosperity in academic and professional settings.

To reach this goal, the government offers administrators four options for intervention, including the transformation model, which requires schools to hire a new principal, make significant changes in teaching quality and curriculum, and provide students with more time in the classroom and greater opportunities for community involvement. Schools may also close and reopen under a new operational structure—the restart model—or they may shut down and enroll their students in nearby higher-performing schools.

An Overview of the SAT Examination by Michael Kohlhagen

A standardized examination that tests students on their reading, writing, and mathematics skills, the SAT is the most popular college admission test. Designed to test high school students on information covered in their general studies, the SAT serves as a means of measuring college readiness. Colleges and universities across the country rely on SAT scores to learn more about their applicants, and many schools offer scholarships based on SAT performance.

Since educators began developing the SAT in the early 1900s, millions of students have taken the examination. Over the years, the test expanded and changed, becoming more standardized and widespread. Today, more than two million students sit down to answer the SAT’s challenging questions every year. To learn more about this important examination or look at sample questions, please visit SAT.CollegeBoard.org.

About the Author: Between 2007 and 2010, Michael Kohlhagen served as the superintendent of Wethersfield Public Schools in Connecticut. During his three-year tenure as superintendent, Mr. Kohlhagen significantly improved Wethersfield High School’s SAT results.

The Benefits of Advanced Placement Classes for College-Bound Students By Michael Kohlhagen

Advanced Placement (AP) classes provide students with the opportunity to earn college credits before graduating from high school. These college-level courses culminate in an exam at the end of the final semester. Scores obtained on AP exams determine the amount of credit that a student may apply to cooperating undergraduate programs during college.

AP courses are available in 34 subjects, including Chemistry, Psychology, English Language and Composition, various history courses, and several foreign languages. Courses offered vary from one high school to another, but are uniformly rigorous in nature in order to prepare students for future college standards.

For more information about Advanced Placement courses and college credits, speak with a student advisor or visit CollegeBoard.com.

About the Author:

Superintendent Michael Kohlhagen is an experienced educational leader and administrator. During his time as the Superintendent of Wethersfield Public Schools in Connecticut, Mr. Kohlhagen increased the availability of AP classes offered within district high schools to benefit students.

Michael Kohlhagen’s Experience at Columbia University

Before he embarked on a career in education, Michael Kohlhagen studied at several universities to grasp a comprehensive understanding of developmental and behavioral issues. Michael Kohlhagen started attending Columbia University in 1995, and he plans to complete his Doctor of Education within the next year.

Those who attend the Teachers College Education Urban Leadership Program study a broad range of courses designed to prepare them for careers in teaching or education administration. The program meets the needs of all students equitably. Examples of fundamental ideals taught at Columbia University in New York include an overview of educational policy, leadership qualities, effective teaching principles, organizational culture and behavior, and social science practice and research. After attending this program, Michael Kohlhagen grasped a comprehensive understanding of the issues presented in the course of teaching and managing students and faculty in a contemporary environment. At Columbia University, Michael Kohlhagen studied under some of the most talented professors in the country. Michael Kohlhagen remains grateful for the fundamental training he received at Columbia.

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The Academic Budget Crisis – Reform Strategies to Fill the Gap, by Michael Kohlhagen (2/2)

At this juncture, limited educational financing stands as a harsh reality for many of America’s public school administrators. Necessitating creative resource management, the budget cuts of the past few years forced me to closely reevaluate my actions, a challenge I eagerly undertook in hopes of providing young minds with a springboard for a bright future. To this end, I strive to position myself as a catalyst for educational reform that adapts to student needs. Properly investing in our children’s potential requires time and effort, as no simple answers exist to the current budgetary conundrum. First and foremost, I advocate for student-centric changes in policy that acknowledge every student’s unique gifts, as well as their academic shortfalls. With the assistance of a committed teaching staff and the latest advancements in scholastic evaluative technology, I retain hope that we can overcome the challenges presented by decreased educational funding.

About the author:

An academic administrator with nearly two decades of experience in upper-management leadership, Michael Kohlhagen most recently served as the Superintendent of Schools for Wethersfield Public Schools in Connecticut. Accomplishing a great deal over the course of his tenure as Superintendent of Schools, Michael Kohlhagen focused considerable attention on improving students’ scholastic performance, implementing a number of innovative programs that facilitated higher scores in the Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT), as well as the SATs. Responsible for shaping policies that directly affected the strategies utilized to educate more than 3,800 students, Michael Kohlhagen collaborated with Wethersfield Public Schools teachers in an actionable manner, bolstering district-wide improvement in literacy, mathematics, and science.

Michael Kohlhagen maintained a similar track record of success prior to joining Wethersfield Public Schools. During his time with the New York City Department of Education, Michael Kohlhagen acted as the Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Assistant Director of Funded Programs, and Executive Administrator for the Office of the Superintendent. Subsequently, Michael Kohlhagen stepped into a role as the Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services for Hartford Public Schools. Currently completing his Ed.D. in Education Administration at Columbia University, Michael Kohlhagen holds a firm commitment to expanding his knowledge and capabilities to the utmost degree.