Friday, December 11, 2015

DESE Board Meets On Tuesday: Southbridge Schools On Agenda


Ken O'Brien

The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 15.

The agenda contains an item specifically related to the just issued District Review Report on the Southbridge schools.

According to the meeting agenda:
Southbridge Public Schools: District Review Report and Possible Next Steps - Discussion
The Board declared Southbridge Public Schools to be a Level 4 (underperforming) district in September 2004. Since 2012, the district has been operating under an Accelerated Improvement Plan. Southbridge has made limited progress and my level of concern is substantial. The areas of district performance that are concerning include low student achievement, high suspension rates, instability in key leadership positions, and overall governance of the district. On December 15, we will discuss the report from the district review that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education conducted recently. (I will send you the report during the week of December 7, as soon as it is completed.) Under Tab 2 are two documents that outline the Department's history of programmatic and financial assistance to the Southbridge Public Schools. Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston and Rob Curtin will join us at the December 15 meeting for this discussion. No action will be taken at the December Board meeting.

Backup documentation for the agenda goes on to state:
At the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on December 15, we will be discussing the district review report for the Southbridge Public Schools. The district review team was onsite in Southbridge in October and is completing the report, which I will send to you under separate cover during the week of December 7. As background for our discussion, I have attached two additional documents to provide you with an overview of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (ESE) history of programmatic and financial assistance to the Southbridge Public Schools.

The Board declared Southbridge to be a Level 4 (underperforming) district in September 2004. The first document, Southbridge Public Schools History as an Underperforming/Level 4 District, highlights major reviews conducted in the district and the associated ESE efforts, in partnership with the district, to address challenges and improve student performance. The attached timeline is broken down into key time periods throughout the past twelve years reflecting important events or actions related to the district's turnaround effort. The timeline also describes the numerous evaluations completed by ESE and the associated assistance that was provided to address identified needs.

The second document, Southbridge Finance and Activity Summary FY2004-FY2015, lists in broad terms the state and federal resources - above and beyond state and federal entitlement grants - totaling more than $1.8 million invested in the Southbridge Public Schools during this period. Some of the major investments include the following: ESE planning support, additional Title I funds for programs related to at-risk students, and supplementary District and School Assistance Center (DSAC) grants.

Later that evening Rob Curtin will appear before the Southbridge School Committee to give a presentation on the District Review Report.

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6 comments:

  1. It looks like the School Committee will have to get used to sitting through meetings where they will do even less than they do now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If the state does step in will it take over the whole district or just the middle-high school?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The DESE seems to have the option of doing either:

      Level 5 Districts
      Level 5 is the most serious category in Massachusetts' accountability system, representing receivership. Districts are independently eligible for placement in Level 5 on the basis of a district review; the report of an appointed accountability monitor; a follow-up review report; quantitative indicators set out in state regulations; or failure of a Level 4 district to meet the ESE-approved benchmarks or goals in its improvement plan in a timely manner.

      Level 5 Schools
      Level 5 is the most serious category in Massachusetts' accountability system, representing receivership. The Commissioner may place a Level 4 school in Level 5 at the expiration of its redesign plan if the school has failed to improve as required by the goals, benchmarks, or timetable of its redesign plan; or if district conditions make it unlikely that the school will make significant improvement without a Level 5 designation.

      See: http://www.mass.gov/edu/government/departments-and-boards/ese/programs/accountability/support-for-level-3-4-and-5-districts-and-schools/school-and-district-turnaround/

      Delete
  3. The state should divide Southbridge in half. Then send the 6th through 12th grades to either Tantasqua or Shepherd Hill. The, the district could rent out the middle school / high school to Quinsig.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Speak up for the kidsDecember 14, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    If you truly feel a state takeover of our schools is the only hope for our children, then I strongly urge you to email the Board of Education. This group is meeting on Tuesday 12/15 in the morning to discuss the Southbridge schools. They are the ones who can vote for the takeover.

    List for the Board of Education (copy and paste the email addresses)

    Paul Sagan Chair email: psagan@doe.mass.edu
    c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148

    James Morton Vice Chair email: jmorton@doe.mass.edu
    YMCA of Greater Boston
    316 Huntington Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115

    Katherine Craven email: kcraven@doe.mass.edu
    Babson College
    Chief Administrative Officer
    231 Forest Street
    Babson Park, MA 02457-0310

    Ed Doherty email: edoherty@doe.mass.edu
    AFT Massachusetts
    38 Chauncy St. Suite 402
    Boston, MA 02111

    Roland Fryer email: roland.fryer@doe.mass.edu
    Harvard University
    44 Brattle Street, 5th floor
    Cambridge, MA

    Margaret McKenna email: mmckenna@doe.mass.edu
    President
    Suffolk University
    73 Tremont Street, 13th floor
    Boston MA 02108

    Michael Moriarty email: Michael.moriarty@doe.mass.edu
    Olde Holyoke Development Corporation
    70 Lyman Street
    Holyoke, MA 01040

    Penny Noyce email: pnoyce@doe.mass.edu
    c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148

    James Peyser email: eoe@massmail.state.ma.us
    Secretary of Education
    Executive Office of Education
    One Ashburton Place, Room 1403
    Boston, MA 02108

    Mary Ann Stewart email: mstewart@doe.mass.edu
    c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148

    Donald Willyard email: dwillyard@doe.mass.edu
    Chair, State Student Advisory Council
    c/o Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street
    Malden, MA 02148

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes good ideas. This would help get more family's back in town buying houses.

    ReplyDelete

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