I will have a larger writeup later this weekend as I have alot to share, but this came in my email and dealt with RTTT so I thought I’d share it. Just so I make this clear I present this as info not my support of Vision 2015!
What is School Turnaround?
Recently, there has been much talk about “school turnaround,” but what does that term really mean for schools, parents, and, most importantly, students? “School turnaround” refers to a plan of action to improve our lowest-performing schools so they produce significant gains in achievement within two years and become high-performing schools from which others can learn.
To facilitate turnarounds for some of Delaware’s lowest-performing schools, Delaware will create a “Partnership Zone.” Schools selected for the Partnership Zone will be identified later this year by the Secretary of Education and will receive an infusion of new resources to improve operating and working conditions for teachers and schools.
As part of its plan to improve the academic performance of its students, a Partnership Zone school will select and implement one of four turnaround models:
▪ integrate school transformation models into the current school environment
▪ restart as a charter school or under a new management organization
▪ implement a turnaround program that makes new leadership and staff positions available, adopts a new governance structure and implements a new or revised instructional program
▪ close the school and send its students to other higher-performing schools
The Partnership Zone will bring schools together as they reinvent themselves, thereby learning from one another and sharing best practices. The goal is improved academic performance by all students.
More information regarding Delaware’s Partnership Zone schools and school turnarounds will be shared in future editions of this newsletter.
More Federal Funding Opportunities
Most of the federal funding talk over the last few months has focused on Race to the Top, but there are some other significant federal funding opportunities that have the potential to help Delaware’s schools.
School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding will begin flowing into our state in the next several months. The federal stimulus package increased Delaware’s share of these funds to over $10 million for this year. This funding is targeted toward the lowest performing 5% of schools, making substantial resources available to those schools to make significant improvements over the next few years.
The Investing in Innovation fund (i3) provides $650 million nationally in competitive grants for school districts, charter schools and non-profits working with districts to create and expand innovative programs that lead to increased student achievement. The final guidance for these grants has recently been released, and applications are due May 11.
Finally, the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) has been reinvigorated with about $600 million in funding. This program supports states and school districts that want to implement model teacher compensation systems that focus on improving student achievement. Draft guidance was released a few weeks ago and applications are expected to be due in July.
A Big Thank You
The Delaware General Assembly proclaimed March 17, 2010, as “Early Child Care and Education Professionals Appreciation Day.” The proclamation declares early childhood educators and child care professionals as dedicated, tireless workers who assist in strengthening communities and supporting families throughout the State of Delaware. Thank you for all you do for our children.
Mark Your Calendars!
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Learn how you can spot the signs of autism and what you can do to spread the word.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and encourage individuals and communities to support children and families.
April 15 – National Library Workers Day. Remember your school librarian during National Library Week, celebrating the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians.
Putting It To the Test
This week, Delaware public school students will finish their DSTP math and reading tests. In preparation, schools throughout the state set aside time in March to energize and motivate their students for success. The Positive Behavior Support Program, a statewide initiative to promote a positive atmosphere in schools, co-sponsored programs throughout the state, including Cape Henlopen High School’s rally showcasing the talents of many Cape students. Students at the Prestige Academy prepared for the DSTP by celebrating “Endurance Week,” created to motivate and encourage students in preparation for the state test.
Reshaping No Child Left Behind
Last week, President Obama released a blueprint for overhauling federal education policy as his administration seeks to address some of the major educational challenges and opportunities that have developed since the last reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 2001, also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
The administration’s proposed framework for ESEA builds on the same priorities within Race to the Top: high academic standards, interventions to turn around the lowest-performing schools, and more effective ways of evaluating and rewarding teachers and principals. The blueprint addresses provisions in NCLB that the administration believes focused too much on tests, narrowed curriculum options, and labeled one in three American schools as failing. The administration would replace the law’s pass-fail grading system of schools with one that would take into account individual student’s academic growth and evaluate schools not just on test scores but on such indicators as pupil attendance, graduation rates, and learning climate. The proposed changes also call for more vigorous interventions in failing schools and rewards for top-performing schools.
Did you know?
Delaware Governor Jack Markell is co-chairing, along with Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, the Common Core Standards Initiative, which will develop a common set of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. Endorsed by 48 states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia, the collaboration can help Delaware save money, more easily benchmark our progress to other states’, and put into place rigorous standards that compete with the world’s highest. The draft standards were released in March 2010 for public comment.
What’s YOUR Story?
Delaware Theatre Company (DTC) explores the voices of Wilmington on its stage with 10 MONTHS: The Wilmington Voices Project. The new production asks, “How does our city define itself? What can happen to a community in ten months’ time?” Through interviews, video, and live actors, the play explores the community’s response to the 10-month National Guard occupation of Wilmington during 1968 and the legacy of that occupation today. The voices and memories of 50 Wilmington citizens formed the basis of the theatre’s new play.
Let your voice be heard! After every performance from March 25 through March 28, guests can participate in a facilitated “talkback” session to discuss issues raised. For more information about the show and the talkbacks, which are sponsored by Education Voters of Delaware and the Rodel Foundation, visit the Delaware Theatre Company’s website.
“We are proud to participate in a process that encourages states to make clear their goals for student achievement and lay out in great detail how they plan to achieve them. Reform does not spring from bold pronouncements alone. Change requires teamwork, cooperation and a sense of shared vision. I think what’s unique about Delaware is how much we have taken that to heart.”
– Delaware Governor Jack Markell, on his blog after Delaware’s delegation presented the state’s Race to the Top proposal to the U.S. Department of Education selection committee.
The U.S. Department of Education will announce the 1st round winners of the Race to the Top competition in early April. Delaware is one of 16 finalists.