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Posts Tagged ‘school turnaround’

New District-Level Race to the Top Competition Announced

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the proposed criteria for a new district-level Race to the Top grant program. Like the original Race to the Top grants, the district-level completion will revolve around four reform areas: higher standards, data-driven decision making, greater support for teachers, and turning around low-performing schools. School districts may compete for a piece of the $400 million pot by showing how their plans for individualized classroom instruction will help close achievement gaps and prepare all students for college and career.

“With this competition, we are inviting districts to show us how they can personalize education for a set of students in their schools.  We need to take classroom learning beyond a one-size-fits-all model and bring it into the 21st century,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

School districts or groups of districts serving at least 2,500 students with 40 percent or more qualifying for free or reduced price lunch are eligible to apply. Awards will range from $15 million to $25 million, depending on the population of students served.

You may submit comments by June 8 on the district-level Race to the Top program here. The Department has stated that it plans to release the application in July, and that it will be due in October. Grant awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2012.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Senate, House Committee Staff Discuss Direction for Accountability in ESEA

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

At a briefing yesterday on Capitol Hill, staff members from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and the House Education and the Workforce Committee spoke about the school turnaround process and the new direction of accountability in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

A staff member of the Senate HELP Committee expressed support for the accountability roadmap designed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as a model for states to follow when creating accountability systems (Read more about CCSSO’s accountability roadmap on the NASDCTEc blog). Systems modeled after the roadmap would still be required to meet high standards, but they would also be provided with more feedback and support to help schools make continuous improvements. The staffer commented that the HELP Committee would still focus on performance targets in ESEA reauthorization but that targets will be more realistic. To improve the school turnaround process, the staffer said that starting points for the Committee include looking at data, autonomy, school readiness, community buy-in, and student supports.

A staff member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee found a great deal of common ground in the House and the Senate’s views on ESEA reauthorization, but he said that the fundamental difference is in what each sees as the appropriate role of federal government in education. According to the staffer, the Committee is first looking at the progress made at the state and local level, and attempting not to interfere with this progress. The Committee’s primary concern is deciding for what schools should be accountable and to whom they should be accountable.

Both Committees agree that data collection and analysis are key components of the school improvement process.

The House is expected to present an accountability bill this fall that will be the fifth and final piece of its ESEA reauthorization package. So far, the House has approved the first and second bills in this series.

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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House ESEA Hearing Highlights CTE as a Turnaround Model

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

On Wednesday the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on “Research and Best Practices on Successful School Turnaround” which looked at ways to turn around the lowest performing schools which produce the highest numbers of dropouts. In his opening remarks, Chairman George Miller (CA) stated that one of the biggest problems to be addressed in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is dropouts. He was critical of the interventions available in No Child Left Behind as well as the Administration’s four proposed turnaround models. He said that the three things that schools and districts need are data, extended learning time and community support.

In his testimony, DDaniel King PSJA House hearingr. Daniel King, Superintendent of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA), spoke about the CTE-based strategies he has used to reduce the dropout rate from almost double the state average to less than half the state average in just two years. The district was able to use grant money to open a T-STEM Early College High School where students can earn up to 60 college credit hours (the equivalent of an Associate degree) while still in high school.

Some of the lessons learned by PSJA include:

The district was recently declared a state model for district turnarounds by Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott and was awarded $2,000,000 grant to scale up their efforts.

By Nancy in Legislation
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