95 percent of DPS school redesign plans receive state approval

Redesign plans from 34 Detroit Public Schools buildings recently received approval from the State School Reform/ Redesign Office in the Michigan Department of Education. The schools were among 45 identified by state law as Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools to achieve to receive the go-ahead for implementation.

“The submission of these plans represent an important first step in each school’s improvement and redesign process,” said MaryAlice Galloway, Deputy Superintendent and State School Reform Officer. “It is clear the 45 schools with fully approved redesign plans made an impressive effort to meet all legal requirements and move their school and students forward.”

DPS had 95 percent of its 40 identified school buildings approved. Two received conditional approval and four were closed by the district.

“Detroit Public Schools is aggressively moving to improve our lowest-performing schools by implementing reforms that go above and beyond federal and state requirements,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb. “We are pleased that MDE has approved our plans, which have been in the works for more than a year and half, beginning with the development of Priority Schools and a landmark labor agreement that gives us the flexibility to make transformative changes for our students.

“Among the changes at all priority schools, regardless of turnaround model, are the hiring of new principals who are being given additional training and access to executive coaches to help ensure their success,” Bobb said. “The schools also have new teaching staff, newly hired literacy coaches to support students and a more rigorous curriculum under the district’s five-year Academic Plan, which includes 120 minutes of reading and math daily for all students in grades k-8.”

Twenty-two schools around the state received “conditional approval” and will receive full approval only upon submission by August 1, 2011 of the necessary amendment to the building’s collective bargaining agreement, signed by both the school district and collective bargaining leadership.

The required amended collective bargaining agreements demonstrate that school will fully implement all requirements of the re-design model selected by the school district. The plans of the 45 approved redesign plans contained the signed amended collective bargaining agreement.

Five of the 92 schools have been or are slated for closure by their districts, and the remaining 20 redesign plans either were incomplete or require changes before they can be approved, Galloway noted. Changes must be submitted by 5:00 p.m., Friday, January 21, 2011. Schools requiring changes will be notified by February 21, 2011 if their revised plan has been approved.
Schools with approved plans may begin to implement their redesign plans immediately, but must begin implementing them no later than the 2011-12 school year.

“To be globally competitive, we need to improve instructional strategies and outcomes for all students across the state, especially in our lowest ranked schools,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan.

As directed by state law, the 92 Persistently Lowest Achieving schools were identified using the federally-prescribed and federally-approved formula used for the federal School Improvement Grant. That formula considers student proficiency levels, academic improvement rates; whether a school made Adequate Yearly Progress; and whether a secondary school had a graduation rate below 60 percent.

Districts with schools on the Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools list were required to submit a redesign plan to the Michigan Department of Education’s School Reform Officer by November 16, using one of four improvement models required by the U.S. Department of Education.

Schools on this list that have not received a federal School Improvement Grant will be eligible to apply for the grant early next year. Grants will be awarded based on the quality and merit of each grant application.

The four federally-required school improvement models from which the schools must select, are:

Transformational Model ( Tr ) – Districts would address four specific areas: 1) developing teacher and school leader effectiveness, which includes replacing the principal who led the school prior to commencement of the transformational model; 2) implementing comprehensive instructional reform strategies; 3) extending learning and teacher planning time and creating community-oriented schools; and 4) providing operating flexibility and sustained support.

Turnaround Model ( Tu ) – This would include among other actions, replacing the principal and at least 50 percent of the school’s staff, adopting a new governance structure and implementing a new or revised instructional program.

Restart Model ( R ) – School districts would close the school and reopen it under the management of a charter school operator; a charter management organization; or an educational management organization selected through a rigorous review process. A restart school would be required to enroll, within the grades it serves, any former student who wishes to attend.

School Closure ( C ) – The district would close a failing school and enroll the students who attended that school in other high-achieving schools in the district.

To view the submitted redesign plans, open these zip files:

Approved redesign plans

Conditionally approved redesign plans

Required Changes redesign plans

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