Tuesday, August 24, 2010

SFUSD press release: Lowest-Performing Schools set to Receive Unprecedented Support

August 24, 2010 (San Francisco) – Today the California State Board of Education authorized a grant of $45 million to the San Francisco Unified School District to address the needs of ten San Francisco schools identified by the State of California as “persistently low performing schools.”

The district applied for the federal funds through a competitive grant process which required the selection of one of four turn-around models and a detailed reform plan for each of the schools. The district’s application received one of the highest possible ranks from the State.

The proposed strategies to turn around the achievement for students represent a comprehensive approach, which includes taking the following steps at schools that are designated as either turnaround or transformation schools:

* Require a rigorous common core curriculum that clearly specifies what students should know and be able to do and sets high standards for rigor and instructional quality.
* Provide professional development on proven instructional strategies that is job-embedded and features one-on-one coaching.
* Institute a performance management system that ensures a data-driven approach to instruction and professional learning using common interim assessments and other evidence of student learning, as well as research-based strategies, to improve teacher practice.
* Focus on adolescent literacy needs in secondary schools and reading instruction in the primary grades.
* Provide the foundations for mathematic excellence in elementary school through partnering mathematicians with teachers in classrooms and ensure that all students can access algebra successfully in middle school.
* Create an academic culture conducive to learning that enables teachers and administrators to concentrate on rigorous instruction and student engagement.
* Create a college-going culture in all secondary schools.
* Extend learning time for students both after school and during the summer.
* Increase parent and community engagement that builds family involvement by integrating and coordinating the many services in the San Francisco community.
* Implement a full-service, community schools approach that encourages partnerships with local agencies to support both students and their families.

To better understand the needs and challenges of identified schools and the district as a whole, SFUSD leaders worked in partnership with university colleagues to understand how other schools and districts have beat the odds for low performing students. A new study, “Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago” (Bryk, 2010), helped shape the district’s process for identifying critical school interventions and supports. The district’s proposal was also based on the input shared by school principals about their continued improvement efforts and the kinds of supports most needed in their schools. District staff and community partners also held meetings with parents and teachers to describe the grant requirements and the implications of the federally-defined reform models.

Ten schools were named by the state as “persistently low performing” and the district included all schools in the SFUSD proposal:

School State Model
Willie Brown, Jr. Academic College Preparatory * Closure
Bryant Elementary Turnaround
Dr. George W. Carver Elementary Turnaround
Cesar Chavez Elementary Transformation
Everett Middle Turnaround
Horace Mann Middle Transformation
Mission High Transformation
John Muir Elementary Turnaround
John O'Connell School of Technology High Transformation
Paul Revere Elementary Transformation

*Willie Brown, Jr. Academic College Preparatory School is closing at the end of school year 2010-2011 in order to build a state of the art facility. The school is eligible for up to $50,000 and, if granted, funding will go to support a parent/community outreach coordinator to assist families in transitioning to new schools.

Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice Richard Carranza says that the district is well positioned to use the funding to drastically accelerate the academic achievement of students in these schools. The solutions proposed to remedy the problems of low-performing schools are part of district-wide reform that is underway.

“In carrying out the vision of our strategic plan,” says Carranza, “we are redesigning the way our central office delivers support to schools. All schools will be provided with more guidance about curriculum, and our resources and support services will be focused more on the needs of the district’s lowest performing schools through our Superintendent’s Zones.”

This year San Francisco Unified formed Superintendent’s Zones in the Bayview and Mission districts, where nine of the ten schools identified as low-performing are located. The tenth school in the Western Addition will be part of the Mission zone. Schools in the new zones have more than double the dedicated resources that other schools have to bolster student achievement, including intensive support for teachers and principals at zone schools.

43 comments:

  1. Wow. This definitely makes hoarse Mann more attractive. McKinley parents-- are you feeling the love yet?

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  2. No, McKinley parent here not feeling the love. That money won't go that far. Would you want your child feeding into a school signaled out for being exceptionally low performing, even with money coming in? if you had the wherewithal, would you seek something else for your child? I live in the middle of housing projects, and do not feel confident that money solves all ills.

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  3. Effect on SF K files readers' kids and other middle class+ kids aside [and I am not putting down people's real concerns}, I am glad to see this. These are communities of children that really need a huge boost. Who have way bigger educational issues and risks than most of the kids whose parents read this blog.

    Some of the ideas for this SIG money are very good ones, if they are implemented consistently and well. They will require good leaders and teachers. I really like the community schools concept, extended learning hours (hope it includes enrichment and fun too) and the emphasis on effective professional development for teachers.

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  4. I echo the comment about enrichment and fun. Joyless drill and kill will not overcome the excitement of the streets past the tractable early grades. So-called "enrichment" (arts and sports) are not luxuries but necessities for balanced, healthy intellectual, emotional and physical development. They should not be limited to the schools whose PTAs can fundraise for them.

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  5. McKinley's not slated to go to Mann, but Everett. Get your persistently underperforming schools straight!

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  6. No, McKinely is feeding into Everett, another on the list of persistently underperforming schools. See press release.

    Love the Hoarse Mann school name though. Could be Horse Man too, if SFUSD were interested in providing equestrian skills to boys (or teaching boys to be men through horsemanship.)

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  7. Most education experts consider the reform models to be outdated and uninspiring. Even Superintendent Garcia has voiced his distaste with the 4 models.

    The articles speaks to many goals, but I'd like to see more plans of action in how to meet these goals. SFUSD is big on goals and small on means to achieve them. The BSC was all goal oriented with no ideas put forth on how to get there. That's one reason why the BSC went belly up. But that's another story..

    Of course It is great that these schools are getting this opportunity. But it is strange. Money for SF schools could hardly be more scarce and these grants seem greatly out of proportion to the new realitiers.

    But my question is this? Why shower 10 (9 really) schools with $45M and give zero to the next ten lowest? Some very underperforming schools are operating on greatly pared budgets in line with the across the board school cuts.

    In addition, the data on dollars versus achievement is sketchy at best after meeting sufficient standards. DC is the classic example of a district that has been inundated with money to the tune of 25K per student and performance remains in the tank - one of the lowest in the nation.

    I’d rather see the grants implemented in stages with payments contingent upon results instead of this kind of windfall. But since when has prudence and fiscal responsibility linked to real verifiable results been required in this era of supersized government and incomprehensible deficits?

    But these reservations aside, it surely is an opportunity of unprecedented proportions and all eyes will be on these schools over the next few years to see if the stimulus money in the form of School Improvement Grants has any more effect on educational outcomes than much of the stimulus has had on the economy.

    BTW- I thought these stimulus funds were suppossed to be "shovel-ready". Why did it take so long?

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  8. 10:03
    if you live in the projects, you have a ctip1 designation, and can apply and probably get into any middle school of your choice. So, why whine about it?

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  9. 1:26

    The money goes to the ten lowest performing schools because that is how the feds set it up. Blaming SFUSD for it is just ignorant.

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  10. If you did one iota of research you would know differently. It's probably less than 500 words.

    U.S. Department of Education Resources

    On December 3, 2009, the U.S. Department of Education posted the final requirements and state application for the Title I School Improvement Grant (SIG).
    The links are:

    SIG Application on ED.gov [http://www.ed.gov/programs/sif/applicant.html] (Outside Source)
    SIG Final Requirements on ED.gov [http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/programs.html] (Outside Source)

    August 26, 2009, the U.S. Department of Education released a Notice of Proposed Requirements for School Improvement Grants (SIG) (Outside Source) authorized under Sec. 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Public comments are due no later than September 25, 2009. The proposed requirements focus on what information State educational agencies (SEAs) should consider when allocating funds to local educational agencies (LEAs). SEAs must still allocate at least 95 percent of all SIG funds to LEAs for schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. Unlike prior guidance, however, SEAs will have different criteria to consider when allocating funds to LEAs. LEAs must divide their schools into three different tiers when applying for SIG funds:

    * Tier I: The lowest-achieving 5 percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the State, or the five lowest-achieving Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is greater.
    * Tier II: Equally low-achieving secondary schools (both middle and high schools) in the State that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds.
    * Tier III: The remaining Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that are not Tier I schools in the State. The Secretary encourages an SEA to develop criteria to further differentiate among the schools in Tier III, either in the State as a whole or within an LEA.

    SEAs are directed to give priority to those LEAs serving the largest number of Tier I and II schools. SEAs are also directed to give priority to those LEAs that display the strongest commitment to turning around failing schools, especially those interested in implementing one of four new “rigorous interventions”:

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  11. We have so many low performing schools, they come first, before the "secondary" ones you mention.

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  12. "SEAs must still allocate at least 95 percent of all SIG funds to LEAs for schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring."

    Don, that looks pretty definitive that the money is earmarked at the Federal level for the schools identified as needing turnaround. I think you owe 1:41 pm an apology.

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  13. Is this his blog? Is he always that snotty?

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  14. -LEAs are directed to give priority to those LEAs serving the largest number of Tier I and II schools-

    From the blub Don posted it seems quite clear it could be Tier 1 or 2. Wasn't your point, Don, that some tier 2 schools ought to have been included in consideration of the size of the grants?

    I too wonder why school number ten could get upwards of 4 and a half mil, whereas school number eleven gets zilch.

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  15. 3:46, no, and yes.

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  16. what's the difference between transformation and turnaround?

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  17. I think this is an interesting question. John Muir is getting significant money to turn around, transform. This hasn't necessarily inspired middle class parents in drove to sign on to the school (or to be excited about an assignment. Probably what John Muir will do best is reach out to and teach kids who really need it -- not middle class kids, but kids slipping down the achievement gap. Who's to say that middle class kids would even help the mix or help the kids there in this particular situation.

    John Muir will probably do great things for kids who need a leg up. It probably will address the achievement gap. But I doubt it will attract a lot of middle class white and asian families.

    It will be interesting to see how middle class parents with children assigned to schools with feeders into this list of 10 (of currently low performing schools set to receive funding) respond. I don't think it all that unusual that many are hesitant to take the leap.

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  18. There will be less opportunity not to take the leap with the new assignment system and middle school feeder patterns.

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  19. From Ed.gov

    School districts will apply to the state for the funds this spring. When school districts apply, they must indicate that they will implement one of the following four models in their persistently lowest achieving schools:

    * TURNAROUND MODEL: Replace the principal, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers; adopt a new governance structure; and improve the school through curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.
    * RESTART MODEL: Convert a school or close it and re-open it as a charter school or under an education management organization.
    * SCHOOL CLOSURE: Close the school and send the students to higher-achieving schools in the district.
    * TRANSFORMATION MODEL: Replace the principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.

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  20. 2:59

    "SEAs are directed to give priority to those LEAs serving the largest number of Tier I and II schools."

    See Tier II, like in 2.

    I think we should set up a SFKfiles fundfaiser for the reading deficient. On the other hand I understand how difficult it is nowadays to have to get your information in anything longer than 100 words. My younger child has reading issues, too. I can suggest some good programs.

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  21. Good god, SHUT UP !!!

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  22. we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

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  23. Now he thinks he is Churchill; what a nutcase.

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  24. No sense of humor, 1:40 PM?

    GO DON!

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  25. Parents Across America
    August 26, 2010
    Dear President Obama:

    Several weeks ago, we wrote to you about our concern that your proposed
    “Blueprint for Reform” did not acknowledge the critical role parents must play
    in any meaningful school improvement process. We also expressed our serious
    reservations about some of the Blueprint's strategies.

    Our goal is simple – to ensure that our children receive the best possible
    education. As parents, we are the first to see the positive effects of good
    programs, and the first line of defense when our children's well-being is
    threatened. Our input is unique and essential.

    Recently, Secretary Duncan announced that he would require districts that
    receive federal school improvement grants (SIG) to involve parents and the
    community in planning for schools identified for intervention. We appreciate
    this response as a first step; however, more needs to be done.

    First, leadership must come from the top. We would like to see meaningful,
    broad-based parent participation not just in our local districts, but at the
    U.S. Department of Education, where critical decisions are being made about our
    children's education.

    Second, we need more than rhetoric to feel confident that only educationally
    sound strategies will be used in our children's schools. The current emphasis on
    more charter schools, high-stakes testing, and privatization is simply not
    supported by research. Disagreement on these matters is not a result of parents
    clinging to the “status quo,” as you have recently asserted. No one has more at
    stake in better schools than we do – but we disagree with you and Secretary
    Duncan about how to get them.

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  26. continued
    We need effective, proven, common-sense practices that will strengthen our
    existing schools, rather than undermine them. These include parent input into
    teacher evaluation systems, fairly-funded schools, smaller class sizes and
    experienced teachers who are respected as professionals, not seen as
    interchangeable cogs in a machine. We want our children to be treated as
    individuals, not data points. And we want a real, substantial role in all
    decisions that affect our children's schools.

    More specifically, and urgently, we insist on being active partners in the
    formulation of federal school improvement policies. The models proposed by the
    U.S. Department of Education are rigid and punitive, involving either closure,
    conversion to charters, or the firing of large portions of the teaching staff.
    All of these strategies disrupt children's education and destabilize
    communities; none adequately addresses the challenges these schools face.

    We also insist on being active partners in reforms at the school level, with
    the power to devise our own local solutions, using research-based methods, after
    a collaborative needs assessment at each individual school.
    Our voices must count. If you listen, you will make real changes in your School
    Improvement Grant proposals as well as your “Blueprint” for education reform.

    We look forward to your response and a brighter future for our children and our
    nation.

    Sincerely, Parents Across America (signatories attached)
    Natalie Beyer, Durham Allies for Responsive Education (DARE), NC
    Caroline Grannan, San Francisco public school parent, volunteer and advocate,
    CA
    Pamela Grundy, Mecklenburg Area Coming Together for Schools, NC
    Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters, New York, NY
    Sharon Higgins, public school parent, Oakland, CA
    Susan Magers, Parent Advocate, FL
    Mark Mishler, active public school parent, former president, Albany City PTA*,
    NY
    Bill Ring, TransParent®, Los Angeles, CA
    Lisa Schiff, San Francisco public school parent, board member of Parents for
    Public Schools*, member of Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco*, "School
    Beat" columnist for BeyondChron, CA
    Rita M. Solnet, President, CDS, Inc.; Director, Testing is Not Teaching, FL
    Dora Taylor, Parent and co-editor of Seattle Education 2010, WA
    Julie Woestehoff, Parents United for Responsible Education, Chicago, IL
    *for identification purposes only

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  27. "From the blub Don posted it seems quite clear it could be Tier 1 or 2. Wasn't your point, Don, that some tier 2 schools ought to have been included in consideration of the size of the grants?"

    You're making the same mistake as Don. The passage Don mentioned is the process of how the States dole out the SIG funds to districts. However, the same passage is explicit 95% of the SIG funds go to schools in improvement, corrective action or restructuring. Which is the ten schools that got the bucks. Because, as 1:41 pm said, that's the way the Feds set it up.

    "I think we should set up a SFKfiles fundfaiser for the reading deficient."

    Physician, heal thyself.

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  28. My point wasn't to get technical on the grant dole out. The point was that Tier II schools are equally low performing, as it clearly states, but are not T1 schools.

    I"m just saying that bottom loading 10 schools with 45 million is a shame when equally low performing schools get nothing. It seems that they had enough money to make a significant difference for more than just 10 schools identified in Tier I.

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  29. The point is, the "rules" were that it was ONLY FOR TEN SCHOOLS.

    Why is it so hard to comprehend? DUH.

    SIG FAQS: part 1


    Why did the state identify SFUSD schools as “persistently low achieving?”
    The CA Dept. of Education needed to identify the lowest 5% of schools in the state by March 15, 2010 to qualify for the competitive Race for the Top federal funding, which mirrors the School Improvement Grant (SIG). The identification of schools and the subsequent school reform requirements are now part of the SBX5 1 state law that directs the use of SIG funds and keeps California in the running for Race for the Top funding.

    What data did the state use to identify these schools?
    Using the Academic Performance Index (API) the state analyzed the CA Standards Test (CST, grades 2-8) results and the CA High School Exit Exam performance to rank schools across the state. The two subject areas considered for this purpose were English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics over a period of three years (2007-2009) for each school. Schools were ranked by their percent of students scoring at or above proficiency and the lowest 5% of the schools were identified as eligible for SIG.
    There were exceptions to the data utilized that allowed some schools to be removed from the list:
    • if the school had less than 100 valid student test scores for any one of the three years (small schools).
    • if the school had a net growth in the last 5 years of 50 points or more on their API growth score.
    • if the school had a statewide API score of 800 in Spring 2009 testing.

    Which schools have been identified as eligible for SIG?
    San Francisco Unified School District has ten schools eligible: Bryant Elementary, Cesar Chavez Elementary, G.W. Carver Elementary, John Muir Elementary, Willie Brown 4th-8th School, Paul Revere K-8th School, Everett Middle, Horace Mann Middle, Mission High, and John O’Connell High.

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  30. SIG FAQs part 2:

    What are the options provided to the SFUSD for these schools?
    There are FOUR options available for SFUSD per state law and the SIG application:
    1. Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50 percent of the original staff; grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes.
    2. Restart model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
    3. School closure: Close a school and enroll the students who attended that school in other schools in the district that are higher achieving. [No funding would come if this option were selected.]
    4. Transformation model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; and (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support.

    How much funding is available through SIG for the school district to aid these schools?
    The range of funding available for each school in the district grant is $50,000 - $2,000,000, per year for up to three years. The funding application does not identify a specific goal amount for any particular school.

    What is the level of district participation required? Does SFUSD have to participate at all? Do all schools need to participate in the first year?
    SFUSD has repeatedly sought clarity on these very important questions but has yet to receive any definitive answers. The federal government offers some information for eligibility and participation, but state law defines how California schools will participate. The federal government has actually mentioned significant flexibility in the timeline of school participation, but the state has NOT confirmed these messages, meaning that waiting may jeopardize the opportunity for any schools attempting to apply the next year. The grant application states that districts that apply for all their identified schools will have funding priority over all other districts. Additionally, the CDE has stated that there is not enough funding for all schools, so SIG funding for added schools next year would not be guaranteed. As more information is known, SFUSD will share the details with all school communities.

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  31. SIG FAQs part 2:

    What are the options provided to the SFUSD for these schools?
    There are FOUR options available for SFUSD per state law and the SIG application:
    1. Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50 percent of the original staff; grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes.
    2. Restart model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
    3. School closure: Close a school and enroll the students who attended that school in other schools in the district that are higher achieving. [No funding would come if this option were selected.]
    4. Transformation model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; and (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support.

    How much funding is available through SIG for the school district to aid these schools?
    The range of funding available for each school in the district grant is $50,000 - $2,000,000, per year for up to three years. The funding application does not identify a specific goal amount for any particular school.

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  32. Part 3

    What is the level of district participation required? Does SFUSD have to participate at all? Do all schools need to participate in the first year?
    SFUSD has repeatedly sought clarity on these very important questions but has yet to receive any definitive answers. The federal government offers some information for eligibility and participation, but state law defines how California schools will participate. The federal government has actually mentioned significant flexibility in the timeline of school participation, but the state has NOT confirmed these messages, meaning that waiting may jeopardize the opportunity for any schools attempting to apply the next year. The grant application states that districts that apply for all their identified schools will have funding priority over all other districts. Additionally, the CDE has stated that there is not enough funding for all schools, so SIG funding for added schools next year would not be guaranteed. As more information is known, SFUSD will share the details with all school communities.

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  33. Part 4
    \
    What will happen to the current principals at these schools?
    At half of the schools on this list, SFUSD had already placed a new principal within the last two years, which would allow those principals to stay per the SIG application guidelines. At the other schools, SFUSD must study each school individually to determine what the best strategy for that school. If the SBX5 1 law must be followed, SFUSD intends to honor the contracts of our principals and identifying different schools for them to lead. SFUSD continues to recognize that these principals are effective and proficient in leadership skills, as evidenced by the multiple times that their administrative contracts have been renewed. If a new principal must be put in place of schools eligible for SIG, SFUSD intends of honoring the contracts of the principals and identifying different schools for them to lead.

    If new principals are needed, how would they be chosen? Who will replace the principals at these schools?
    SFUSD is currently looking at current research and networking with educational partners to identify a job description for “turnaround principals” that has actually been utilized by other school districts who have shown success with educational reform efforts. SFUSD would match the right principals with the support they need to successfully increase academic achievement.

    Will the staff be replaced at the schools? How will SFUSD do this?
    The “Turnaround” option states that at least 50% of the staff must be replaced. It is not yet certain which schools must utilize this option as a School Improvement Strategy.
    SFUSD does agree that the quality of teaching is the most critical element in student achievement. Students with the highest academic needs must have the most skilled teachers. Nonetheless, SFUSD is struggling with the current fiscal crisis and layoffs based on seniority and credential area (meaning that the number of years a teacher has been teaching and the credential they hold determines whether or not they receive a layoff notice). Meanwhile, the SIG application requires a rigorous process of identifying the best teachers to hire into the eligible schools.

    What’s next? Who will write the actual School Improvement Grant? Is it one district grant or a grant for each school to write its own? How will the school have the opportunity to give input?
    The grant deadline is June 1st, 2010. The grant itself will be a collaborative effort between the school communities and district. SFUSD is actively seeking answers from the state to determine the next steps and timeline. Meanwhile, SFUSD is preparing for the possibility that the district may be required to do one of these four options at each of these ten schools. SFUSD leaders have already met with each of the principals and will continue to work with our school leaders as well as our community partners in using data to make sure that the district plan for the School Improvement Grant reflects the best information about what works. Since SFUSD staff is required to write the grant on behalf of the entire district through consultations with the community. SFUSD is producing specific questions for each school community to collect their ideas. For example, SFUSD will ask the school communities about the Professional Development program that each school wants to embrace to transform their school. Each school community may also request specific academic support they believe will increase achievement.

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  34. "The point is, the "rules" were that it was ONLY FOR TEN SCHOOLS.

    Why is it so hard to comprehend? DUH."

    The SEA, not the DOE made it for the ten schools. The language is very clear Tiers I and II. But I agree that there was probably little that SFUSD could do about it.

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  35. Don did you check out Glen beck and Palin at the Lincoln memorial? It was awesome.

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  36. This is from Rachel's latest blog post about failing to receive RTTT funds:

    "This is disappointing, but applying felt a little bit like doing a deal with the devil so I’m not really all that upset that we didn’t qualify."

    So, Rachel, if it was like doing a deal with the devil, why did you support applying? Peer pressure?

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  37. Don, figure it out.

    M-O-N-E-Y-

    Get off Rachel's gown, creep.

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  38. If she's willing to sell out SFUSD to RTTT for $50 to $100 per kid how many other times has she and will she sell out? It seems like most people on this blog are not happy with the new SAS, but by your thinking they shouldn't blame Norton or the others (equally so)for voting for it.

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  39. They haven't actually voted for it yet, have they?

    But nothing will stop your venom.

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  40. I am trying to figure out why the district has drafted the feeder pattern so that by far the majority of kids at Mann will be below proficient academically. Is it because there is so much faith in the SIG that the district can ignore its objective of "reducing the concentration of lower-performing students" at schools? I really can't believe there is not more outcry about the feeder pattern to Mann, unless everyone assumes the money will fix the problems. I for one do not have so much faith. Why do you readers think the district did not assign a single medium or high-performing school to Mann? Is it the "unprecedented support"? Or is it just a school that SFUSD didn't think parents at, say, Moscone or Alvarado would accept without a huge fight?

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  41. Well, to be fair, Starr King and Daniel Webster may be low-scoring, but they have incredibly organized parent bases. This group can probably bring Mann up if they choose to do so.

    But with that said, both schools have immersion tracks that make Mann an less than ideal choice for those parents. I personally am unwilling to take the risk on a bad middle school, as ages 11-14 are the years that a kid can go really afoul academically and socially. So if this ends up being how it is, we'll go private.

    The new feeder patterns make Starr King and Daniel Webster look much less attractive than they did, which is a crying shame after all the work that Potrero Hill parents have put into these schools.

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  42. 7:38

    Your post made me feel depressed. Are you a Webster or Starr King parent? Are you in the immersion program at either? I am sorry to read that Mann looks so bad to you that you would have to go private. Seems like if the organized parents at Starr King, Webster and BV stick together then the outcomes at Mann will be quite different than if all the middle class families bail.

    How can you tell if Mann will be a "bad middle school?" The current test scores are pretty much meaningless in this context.

    It is scary to think about our kids going down a dangerous track in middle school but it is hard to believe this would happen with very strong and supportive parents...any more that at any school.

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