DDOE ESEA Flexibility waiver language….look out DE schools

Here comes trouble: http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/ddoe/FlexFiles/AmendmentProposalFINAL022514.pdf

Identification of new cohort of Priority Schools schools For purposes of this new cohort of Priority schools, the definition in the regulation is no longer operational because of its reliance of the NCLB construct of schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. As noted in amendment area #1, the Academic Framework will be used to determine the Priority schools.

Specific Requirements, Timelines,Memorandum of Understanding and Agreements LEAs that have Priority schools must, in partnership with the State, select one of the four intervention models. The regulation requires that the DDOE and the LEA enter a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) regarding the selection of the model–closure, restart, turnaround, or transformation–as well as regarding the details of the implementation of the plan. For each of the four options, certain elements are mandated by regulation.In addition,no matter which model is chosen, the requirements establish a shared reporting structure hereby the school leadership reports to the district and the state, and DDOE will be establishing clear protocols in this regard to ensure appropriate state reporting and support as part of the revised MOU that each Priority school, its district, and the state must complete.

[Note that we are deleting the current MOU from the ESEA waiver.]Further, under any model, the Priority school strategy must be based on solid evidence of what critical elements must be addressed to ensure the greatest likelihood of success to dramatically improve student achievement, exit Priority school status, and become a high-performing school.

This includes, for example,implementing such strategies as recruitment, induction, and coaching of teachers and school leaders; increasing opportunities for promotion and career growth;establishing schedules and implementing strategies that provide increased learning time that is student centered; giving the school sufficient operational flexibility; and other elements as determined by the Secretary that evidence shows supports great teaching and leading and dramatically improving student achievement toward college and career -ready outcomes, particularly with regard to high-poverty students and schools.

As our experience and evidence in school turnaround improves–both in Delaware and nationwide–so, too, must our expectations and requirements for evidenced based actions.

In particular, Delaware will expect all Priority schools to have a leadership team with experience and evidence of success in turning around underperforming schools, including through an Education Management Organization (EMO), Charter Management Organization CMO), or principal leader.

This is particularly true for Priority schools that have not improved over time or are in districts that are themselves underperforming. Once a plan is agreed upon and implemented, the regulation provides the State with the authority to intervene to ensure rapid improvements in performance.

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