The purposes of the School Innovation Fund (SIF), according to the New York State Education Department, are to increase high school graduation, college and career readiness of high school graduates, college persistence, and college graduation rates by increasing the availability of new high quality seats for students at most risk for dropout, disengagement, and poor academic performance.
Under a SIF plan, Priority Schools must partner with one partner or a group of partners to launch a whole-school redesign of an existing school under one of the following design frameworks:
- College Pathways School Design
College pathway schools are small, autonomous schools, operated in close connection with a postsecondary institution. The schools are designed so that all students have the opportunity to earn college credits tuition-free along with a high school diploma.
- Community-Oriented School (wraparound services) Design
A community-oriented school is a public school with an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and family and community engagement. It is jointly operated a through a partnership between the school system and one or more community agencies.
- Arts and/or Cultural Education School Design
Arts and/or cultural education schools provide a specialized educational program and learning environment which integrate content and resources from the arts and/or cultural institutions into traditional core subject areas. Additionally, arts and/or cultural education schools are conducive to artistic and academic excellence for promising students of the arts. (*Note: the purpose of this grant is to propose a whole-school redesign, where Arts and/or Cultural Education is a common theme; this grant is not for separate Arts and/or Cultural Education programs within schools).
- Career and Technical Education (CTE) School Design
A CTE school design is a shift from the traditional educational plan to a pathway, reflecting a continuum of education that is committed to student career development and planning in preparation for postsecondary education and the workplace. A comprehensive concentration of groups of courses or units of study, when combined make up a school design that includes rigorous academic content closely aligned with career and technical subject matter that uses the State learning standards of career development and occupational studies as a framework (8 NYCRR §100.1(l)). The courses of study may consist of the following content areas: agriculture, business and marketing, family and consumer sciences, health occupations, technology, and trade and technical education, which provides students education and training that will result in a readiness to enter the workforce in specific career fields upon graduation or enter college in specialized technical professions. (*Note: the purpose of this grant is to propose a whole-school redesign, where CTE is a common theme; this grant is not for separate CTE programs within schools).
- Virtual/Blended/Online School Design
A virtual/blended/online school provides learning experiences where high quality, personalized, instructional interaction occurs through digital and/or Internet-connected technology. It delivers a majority of the instructional experience through a digital or Internet-connected learning environment. A blended school design provides any combination of face-to-face and digital, virtual, and/or Internet-connected instructional interaction. Virtual/online and blended school designs provide flexibility of time and place of instruction, in order to meet individual student learning needs.
- Network-Affiliated School
A Network-Affiliated school must be planned and launched in partnership with an organization responsible for the original design and network management of similar successful schools. The Network-Affiliated school will replicate the organizational and education features of the successful schools and become a part of (benefit from) participation in the larger network. Specific shared governance of the school must be explicit in the roles and responsibilities articulated in the final NYSED approved MOU between the LEA and educational partner or management organization.