The bill changes the criteria that the department of education (department) must consider in assigning an accreditation category to a school district or the state charter school institute (institute) or in recommending the type of performance plan that a public school must implement. The bill clarifies that a school district or the institute, on its own behalf or on behalf of one of its public schools, may request reconsideration of the initial accreditation category or performance plan assignment. The bill specifies criteria the department may apply as part of the reconsideration.
The bill directs the department to make training in governance and turnaround best practices available to the directors of the board of education of a school district that is accredited with improvement plan or lower or that includes a public school that is required to implement a priority improvement or turnaround plan and to make materials and training available to parents, school personnel, and school district and school accountability committees. The bill allows, rather than requires, the commissioner of education (commissioner) to assign the state review panel to evaluate a school district's, the institute's, or a public school's turnaround plan. And the commissioner may require the state review panel to conduct one or more on-site visits as part of the evaluation.
In the third year in which a school district or the institute is accredited with priority improvement plan or lower, or earlier at the school district's or institute's request, the school district or institute must hold a parent and community meeting. Department personnel must attend the meeting. The bill specifies the information that must be provided at the meeting and the requirements for providing notice of the meeting. A school district or the institute, as appropriate, must also hold a parent and community meeting for a public school that is in the third year of implementing a priority improvement or turnaround plan, or earlier, and must combine the parent and community meeting with the public meeting required under existing law. Department personnel must attend the meeting. The department may require a school district or an institute charter school to provide proof of compliance with other public meeting requirements that apply to adoption of a priority improvement or turnaround plan.
Under current law, if a school district or the institute is accredited with priority improvement plan or lower for 5 consecutive years, the department may recommend that the state board of education (state board) remove the school district's or institute's accreditation. The bill changes the time period, beginning with the 2018-19 school year, by providing that, if a school district or the institute performs at a level that results in being accredited with priority improvement plan or lower for 2 consecutive years followed by 3 additional years, consecutive or nonconsecutive, for a total of 5 years, the state board must require the school district or institute to take action as provided in statute. But if the school district or institute performs at a level that results in being accredited at a level higher than priority improvement plan for 2 consecutive years after the first 2 of the 5 years, then the 5 years stop accumulating. This change to calculating the 5 years also applies to a public school that performs at a level that results in being required to adopt a priority improvement or turnaround plan. While the 5 years are accumulating, the school district, institute, or public school is on performance watch. For the fourth year in which a public school, a school district, or the institute is on performance watch, the priority improvement or turnaround plan adopted by the public school, school district, or institute must include a description of how it would implement the actions that the state board may direct at the completion of 5 years on performance watch.
The bill also changes the consequences for completing 5 years on performance watch. Under the bill, the commissioner must assign the state review panel to evaluate the school district's or the institute's performance and recommend one or more of several specified actions, which may include removal of accreditation. After considering the recommendations, the state board must determine the appropriate actions and direct the school district or institute accordingly. The school district or institute then goes on a 2-year cycle of evaluation by the state review panel, which may result in additional directions from the state board to the school district or institute. The school district or institute remains subject to the 2-year cycle until it performs at a level that results in being accredited with improvement plan or higher for 2 consecutive years. A comparable requirement for a 2-year cycle of review by the state review panel applies to a public school that completes 5 years on performance watch.
The bill clarifies that the state board, at the request of a school district or the institute, may direct the school district or institute to take one of the specific actions, for itself or for a public school, before the school district, institute, or public school completes the 5 years on performance watch.
The bill makes several changes to implementation of the performance indicators for measuring the performance of public schools, school districts, the institute, and the state, including:
- Repealing the specific details for calculating performance of the achievement and longitudinal growth indicators and directing the state board to specify calculations in rule;
- Specifying a performance indicator that measures growth to standards;
- Changing the terminology for describing a student's performance on the statewide assessments; and
- Removing the performance indicator concerning closing the achievement gaps and requiring the department to disaggregate performance by student groups in each of the remaining performance indicators and separately account for the performance of each student group on each performance indicator.
The bill requires the school district accountability committees to meet quarterly to discuss whether school district leadership, personnel, and infrastructure are advancing or impeding school district performance.
The bill requires the annual performance reports for public schools, school districts, the institute, and the state to specify the percentage of students enrolled by each public school, school district, or the institute who score at each of the performance levels on the statewide assessments.
The bill identifies additional innovations that a public school may adopt if the state board directs that a school district convert the public school into a school of innovation.
The bill changes the existing school turnaround leaders development program to the school transformation grant program. Under the school transformation grant program, in addition to awarding grants for the development of school turnaround leaders, the state board must award grants to applying school districts, the institute, and charter schools for educator professional development and to implement instructional transformation in the public schools.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)