MET School bus cams GSJ 3.jpg

School buses head down Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge on Friday, Oct. 22, 2010.

File photo by GAVIN JACKSON

More than a dozen D and F public schools, and systems with struggling schools, will get $8.1 million to finance improvements in Louisiana's first rollout of changes from the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, officials said Monday.

The state'a plan to comply with the law was approved last August.

"We are now at the stage of full implementation," state Superintendent of Education John White told reporters.

White said schools and school districts that landed the grants spelled out plans to ensure a high-quality curriculum, properly trained teachers and quality ways to measure student learning.

All of the schools eligible for the aid have been rated D or F for at least three consecutive years.

Nearly one in five public schools in Louisiana is rated D or F.

White said 17 schools or systems, after a review by state education officials, qualified for funding.

One other won approval but fell short of meeting funding requirements.

Thirteen others were rejected but officials of those schools are likely to re-submit proposals for the second round, with applications due by March 1.

In Baton Rouge, Celerity Crestworth Charter School, Celerity Dalton Charter School and Celerity Lanier Charter School are getting about $66,000 each.

The highly-rated Ascension Parish School District is getting $75,130.

In New Orleans, Paul Habans Charter School is getting $117,200 and Joseph A. Craig Charter School $27,736.

Iberville Charter Academy is set to receive $134,199.

The federal law requires states to set aside 7 percent of Title 1 funds to finance improvements.

That totals $20 million in Louisiana.

Applications for assistance totaled more than $100 million.

The federal law was approved in 2015.

States had to come up with plans largely aimed at helping struggling students, and the Louisiana outlined took about two years to compile.

The grants announced on Monday are about one year ahead of the federal deadline.

"We are starting early because we think this is an urgent task," White said.

A committee of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the full board, is expected to sign off on the awards Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Earlier in the day state officials said a total of 56 Louisiana public schools and districts will divide nearly $12 million in federal dollars to improve reading and writing skills for struggling students.

The aid is the first of three years of funding from a $55.5 million federal grant that the state landed in October.

BESE is expected to approve the allocations on Wednesday.

The West Baton Rouge, Livingston and St. Martin school districts account for nearly $2 million of the money.

"We've made great progress but there is still much left to do," White said in a statement.

"Only half of our students enter kindergarten ready, and by fourth grade just 36 percent read and write on grade level," White said. 

"This grant will accelerate our efforts by providing students and families with a strong foundation based in research and by supporting a cadre of reading and writing educator experts across the state," he said.

The money will be used to buy popular children's books and teacher tools to implement a high-quality literacy curriculum aligned with state standards.

It will also finance literacy assessments, intervention programs and professional development for educators.

The state got 145 applications for the money.

The West Baton Rouge school system will get $632,700.

The district also collected literacy dollars from the federal government from 2011-16.

The Livingston Parish School District is in line for $703,000 and the St. Martin school system $632,700.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.