It's interesting because I think some fear this as an intro into charters; I see it as a way to strong-arm off charters. Why do you need charters if districts and unions are willing to work together to provide innovative ways to close the achievement gap? I think this kind of forward motion is what we need to see more of and could be a model for the rest of the country. (I do know that there are innovation-type schools as well as charters as well as magnets in some districts in the country. I don't get have a huge hodge-podge of types of schools. What a lot of confusion for parents and oversight costs for the state.)
Back to the MOU.
It would only cover the current CBA which runs from 2010-2013. It would provide for "broad exemptions" from SPS policies/procedures and the CBA in return for "enhanced autonomy and accountability."
Every school would have to create its own application and those applications would have to be approved by a joint SEA/district review committee and the Superintendent. It does not name who from the district would be on the review committee nor is there any Board input to the process.
Definition of a Creative Approach School: "a school community that develops a new, different and creative approach that supports raising achievement and closing the achievement gap for all enrolled students."
This definition is somewhat vague and confusing. Would a current Option school be eligible? Or how much would their program have to change? Could they keep their focus and just change how they deliver the curriculum? Is this a "new to you" approach for schools; meaning, could they copy each other rather than thinking up their own plan?
Required criteria (abbreviated):
- initiated as grass-roots
- rationale, research and data provided in support of design plan
- articulated, defensible program/school design
- identifies how plan is intended to raise student achievement overall and close achievement gap
- identifies program evaluation criteria and how long it will take to demonstrate effectiveness of plan, including success benchmarks over time
- broad participation of family and community members in developing the design
- determine how staff, families and other community members will be involved in decision-making and monitoring of success
My question would be - what is grass-roots? Would that include parents?
Staff and Community
- supermajority of SEA repped staff who work in bldg. 2 days a week along with principals (80%)
- all SEA repped staff must sign creative approach plan “compact agreement” specific to school and agree “any and all staff that agree to the assignment of said Creative Approach School, must adhere to the Creative Approach School plan and philosophy." Democratic process used by staff in decision-making
- identify leadership and governance structure for school
- voluntary participation by staff; follow displacement procedures in CBA during spring staffing and voluntary opt-out. Any staff that doesn't follow the "compact agreement" would have to leave the school.
- SPS assignment plan; if neighborhood school, must stay that way
- accountable for standards
- evaluation tools
- cost-neutral or sustainable external funding
- budgetary freedom
- principal will not change for 3 years with acceptable performance
- 3 years for effectiveness of plan to be seen
- oversight committee
- annual report
- opt out of district assessments as long as benchmark and progress goals are made
- choice on all instructional materials (note that word "all")
- latitude in schedule day and year
- academics focused on themes or disciplines
- private partnerships in schools for wraparound services, arts, etc.
- family compacts (already in Title One schools)