---Bold new strategy launched to improve outcomes for students at struggling schools---
(Dover, DE) -- Four persistently underperforming Delaware schools will receive an infusion of resources and assistance to significantly improve their students’ academic performance, Secretary of Education Lillian M. Lowery, Ed.D. said today in designating the state’s inaugural “Partnership Zone” schools.
Former Secretary Lowery announced that the four schools: Positive Outcomes Charter School in Camden; Stubbs Elementary School in Wilmington; Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington; and Glasgow High School in Newark consistently rated among the lowest performing schools in Delaware. These schools will now be part of a newly created “Partnership Zone” as outlined by a 2010 Department of Education regulation.
Partnership Zone schools will benefit from grants of up to $2.2 million over four years to carry out one of four models for significantly improving student performance at the school:
- Closure – District closes the school and enrolls the students who attended that school into other schools.
- Restart – District converts a school into a public charter school pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 5 of Title 14 of the Delaware Code, or closes and reopens a school under a charter school operator, a charter management organization or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
- Transformation – School makes significant changes in its governance and operation, including making changes to teacher evaluation consequences and modifying instructional time.
- Turnaround – School makes significant changes in governance, staffing and operation including removing at least 50% of the current staff.
School districts and charter schools responsible for the Partnership Zone schools must now select one of the four models. The Department of Education expects the districts and charter school will work with the affected school communities, especially parents, and with the Department to determine which of the four Partnership Zone models is best and what the specific strategies will be for that school.
The school districts and charter school will have three months to engage school communities to develop a plan for their strategy for approval by the Delaware Department of Education. Former Secretary Lowery said she will work closely with the leadership of the school districts and charter school and believes they will submit aggressive and innovative plans for improvement. She will meet individually with each of the four schools’ larger school communities to provide additional information and answer any questions.
Partnership Zone school models may utilize some of the following strategies to improve students’ academic achievement: longer hours, including more learning time for students; more collaboration time for teachers; enrichment activities for students; changes in school leadership and staff; and meaningful family and community engagement.
The schools were selected in a two-step process that included both a quantitative analysis to determine the persistently lowest achieving schools on the State’s reading and math tests and a qualitative analysis by the Secretary that considered factors generated with input from various stakeholder groups.
“Partnership is the right word here. It's about working together to deliver stronger public schools for our children and better results for us all," said Governor Jack Markell. "Our young people will be competing for future jobs in a global workforce that demands a strong educational foundation and we are focused on working together to make that a reality."
“Now I’m issuing a call to action so that all of our schools have the chance to be great. Each and every student must be given the opportunity to be ready for college and prepared to compete for the next generation of jobs,” Former Secretary Lowery said. “I am committed to working with the administrators, teachers, families and others in the inaugural Partnership Zone school communities to ensure we identify innovative strategies to improve outcomes for their students.”
schools are an important part of Delaware's plan to strengthen public education and encourage accountability in schools. Partnership Zones schools were also part of the blueprint for change the state spelled out when it explained its efforts in its successful application for the federal Race to the Top effort. Delaware was one of only two states to win the initial federal Race to the Top initiative, which came with $119 million to support efforts to improve the quality of education in the state. The plan the state submitted included the support of every school district, superintendent, charter school and charter school director.
In 2011, an additional six struggling schools will be chosen to receive similar support through the Partnership Zone. The complete list of Persistently Low-Achieving Schools will be available this afternoon at: http://www.doe.k12.de.us/aab/accountability/school_account.shtml
with Former Secretary Lowery and District Superintendents
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:00 Noon
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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