Buildings across the state have been designated for extra support and/or funding as part of the state’s new school classification system.
In May, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan approved Delaware’s plan for school accountability and support, granting the state flexibility from certain requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Under Delaware’s plan, schools now will work toward ambitious but realistic goals with the help of differentiated support from the state and their districts.
Under Delaware’s new system, the state has done away with the school rating and status system (i.e. superior, commendable, academic watch, under improvement). This also means school leaders no longer will be forced to follow some federally prescribed remedies previously required because of the “under improvement” status. Instead, local leaders will design and implement plans that meet the specific needs of their schools and students. State officials will approve the plans and monitor the work.
The state now will provide districts/charters with differentiated support ranging from intense to minimal. This aims to meet needs where they exist as well as unburden districts/charters that don’t need as much support so they can continue doing the good work they have underway. This method also builds capacity on the local level and provides more local control and decision-making about how to best meet building-level needs.
The state’s new school classification system will recognize those schools that are excelling as well as provide more support to those that need it. In addition to the previously established Partnership Zone that includes 10 buildings statewide (http://www.deturnaround.org/), the state has named 13 buildings as Focus schools, based on the largest achievement gaps, low performance of subgroups and/or graduation rates. Districts/charters will design reform plans for state approval. Like PZ, Focus schools will remain in that classification until they show consecutive years of strong performance.
Two other classifications will be named annually: Reward and Recognition. One high-progress and one high-achievement Title I (based on poverty level) will be named Reward and receive financial awards. Up to 15 schools also will be named Recognition schools for achieving and sustaining significant student academic gains. They, too, will receive a financial award.
More information about each classification follows.
Capital: Fairview Elementary School, Washington Elementary School
Charter: Moyer Academy
Christina: Bayard Middle, Kirk Middle, Newark High, and Oberle Elementary
Milford: Banneker Elementary School
Red Clay: A.I. DuPont Middle, Baltz Elementary, and Warner Elementary
Seaford: Frederick Douglas Elementary and West Seaford Elementary
More information about how each school was designated is available here.
Each of the districts or charter with Focus schools must submit to the state a three-year plan to address the particular needs of each of its Focus schools. The plan must identify a minimum of one intervention for each Focus school from a state menu of options or alternative research-based intervention(s) that directly address the reason the school was identified as a Focus school. The state will provide technical assistance to local leaders as they develop the plans.
Multiple funding sources are available for the plan. Each district/charter with a Focus school may apply for a grant. Also, as required by the state’s federal Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility waiver, each district/charter must set aside a portion (between 5 percent and 20 percent) of Title I funds to support Focus schools. Local funds also may be used.
Local leaders may write grant applications for between $50,000 and $250,000 per year, per Focus school, to support their Focus plan work. Schools are not guaranteed to get how much they apply for. The applications will be judged against a rubric; the money is not competitive between the 13 Focus schools. The state will use Title I 1003(a) funds and State School Improvement Grant money to fund the plans. This is not a building-level grant. This is a district-level grant and effort to support interventions at the school level. As noted above, the district/charter set-aside from Title I funds also is required.
Indian River School District's Long Neck Elementary School in Millsboro and Lake Forest District's Lake Forest South Elementary School in Harrington have been selected as Delaware’s 2011 -2012 Title I Reward Schools.
Under Delaware’s recently approved ESEA Flexibility, there is a provision to recognize two “Reward Schools” - one for “highest performing school” and one for “high progress school.”
Long Neck Elementary School, the “highest performing school,” made adequate yearly progress based on the 2011 assessment results. It was among the top 10 percent of schools for the performance of all students and each subgroup on the combined English language arts and math percent proficient on the 2011 assessment, and it was among the top 25 percent of schools for all students and each subgroup on the combined ELA and math percent proficient on the 2009 and 2010 assessments. David C. Hudson is the principal of Long Neck Elementary School.
Lake Forest South Elementary School, the “high progress school,” showed significant annual growth for all students on the combined ELA and math percent proficient from 2008-2010 and, in addition, reduced the gap for each subgroup. Susan K. Frampton is the principal of Lake Forest South Elementary School.
Each school will receive a $50,000 award.
Up to 15 schools will be recognized for achieving and sustaining significant student academic gains. Those buildings and their awards will be announced in late fall along with another round of Reward schools based on 2012 assessment data.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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