A. Whole School Improvement Plans
Whole-school evaluation is the cornerstone of the quality assurance system in schools. It enables a school and external supervisors to provide an account of the school’s current performance and to show to what extent it meets school district goals. This approach provides the opportunity for acknowledging the achievements of a school and for identifying areas that need attention.
Each school in the Boston Public School system will adopt a written Whole School Improvement Plan each year that sets specific educational goals for the school year. The primary purpose of this plan is to provide the leadership of each school with a process to help guide its decision-making regarding instructional improvement and programmatic options offered to students. The development of this plan is the responsibility of each school’s Instructional Leadership Team (ILT).
Each school’s proposed Whole School Improvement Plan shall be submitted to the appropriate Deputy Superintendent. The Deputy Superintendent will either approve the plan or return it for revision. If the plan is returned for revision, the Deputy Superintendent shall provide a written explanation of the decision and specific recommendations for revision of the Plan. The school will then have to submit a revised plan according to the Deputy Superintendent’s given timelines.
The Whole School Improvement Plans are designed to enable those in schools, supervisors and support services to identify to what extent the school is adding value to learners’ prior knowledge, understanding and skills. The underlying philosophy of that plan should be guided and built on the following six essentials for whole school improvement:
1) Use effective instructional practices and create a collaborative school climate to improve student learning
2) Examine student work and data to drive instruction and professional development
3) Invest in professional development to improve instruction
4) Share leadership to sustain instructional improvement
5) Focus resources to support instructional improvement and improved student learning
6) Partner with families and community to support student learning
B. School Performance Assessment
1. Collection of Data
Careful analysis of student performance data is critical to that improvement and to developing a good school plan. The evaluation of both qualitative and quantitative data is essential when deciding how well a school is performing. The Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) at each school shall conduct a thorough analysis of a wide range of data associated with leadership and management, teaching and learning and family and community engagement. Through this process, the ILT is encouraged to have staff, parents and the school community reflect on the effectiveness of existing school policies and practices. The range of performance related data may include, among other criteria:
• MCAS scores
• Formative assessments
• Learning Walk reviews
• Samples of student work
• Collaborative Coaching and Learning inquiry
2. Annual Assessment
Schools will continue to be assessed annually. Each school will undergo a rigorous external review by the Deputy Superintendent comparing the goals outlined in the Whole School Improvement Plan to performance. A School whose performance is unsatisfactory may be subject to further review by the Superintendent. The Superintendent may request a joint labor/management intervention process for those schools that have been identified as under performing. This Intervention Team can recommend appropriate improvement measures, including but not limited to:
• Reassignment of some or all members of the bargaining unit and/or administration
• Reallocation of staff duties
• Additional time to attempt improvement, but not more than one year
• Intensive monitoring
• Assignment of part-time or full-time in-school specialists or consultants
• Specialized staff development
• Replacement of some or all of the leadership team including Principal-Headmaster and
members of the School Site Council.
A school’s annual assessment is not subject to a grievance by any member of the bargaining unit. A School Site Council may request a review of an unsatisfactory assessment by the Deputy Superintendent, but an annual assessment may be changed only by the Superintendent.
C. School Intervention Teams
The School Intervention Team will be composed of three members chosen by the Union, three members selected by the Superintendent, and a seventh member who is jointly agreed to by the Superintendent and the President of the Union. To the extent possible, an appropriately qualified substitute will be assigned to cover the classes of a teacher when the teacher is working as part of a school intervention team. This team will initiate an assessment of the reasons for the under-performance and present a remedial plan for improvement after spending time at the school and talking with school staff, parents, and community members. The remedial plan will be completed up to four months after the team is appointed. The plan will then be submitted to the Superintendent for appropriate action.
D. Superintendent’s Schools
The Boston Public Schools seeks to transform low or under-performing schools to schools of excellence through a comprehensive slate of supports, incentives, collaborations, resources, flexibilities, structural improvements, and accountability measures. These schools will be known as the Superintendent’s Schools. All members of the community (teachers, parents, students, administrators, universities, businesses, community groups, and neighbors) must work together to ensure that all students achieve academic success, and that gaps in achievement defined by race, income, language and/or program are eliminated.
Boston’s plan for improving low- and under-performing schools focuses on five core beliefs:
• All students can meet high standards of academic achievement in the Boston Public
• Quality instruction is the key factor affecting student learning.
• Strong and effective leadership at the school site is a key component to whole school
• The district must position resources to support principals’ development as instructional
• Incentives and accountability around measurable goals at all levels must be aligned
improving student learning.
By embracing these five core beliefs in all aspects of school life, by instituting policies and building practices around these beliefs in these schools, and by building coalitions of support around these beliefs, Boston will help build the capacity necessary to enable high student achievement in its neediest schools.
Schools become eligible to be selected as Superintendent’s School status if they meet one of two criteria.
The school is on track to be, or has been, designated as “Chronically Under Performing” by the Massachusetts Department of Education.
The school is on track to be, or has been, designated as “Restructuring” under the Federal No Child Left Behind regulations.
In the first year of this intervention, the Superintendent, under the advisement of the Boston Teachers Union, will select up to 10 schools for this program. The Superintendent may designate five (5) more schools in the second year and five (5) additional schools in the third year for this status.
Once schools lose their state or federal designation they will be removed from the list of Superintendent’s Schools, to be replaced by another following the procedures outlined above.
Each school year, the principal or headmaster of a Superintendent’s School will have sole discretion in filling 75% of personnel vacancies.
All teachers and staff in Superintendent Schools will be required to work one additional hour per school day with the stipulation that a minimum of 80% of this additional time be used for direct instructional time. The balance of the time can be used for professional development (in addition to the 50 hours), meetings, advisory, common planning time, or class time. The specific allocation, scheduling, and content of this additional time will be stipulated in the School Reform Plan (SRP) and must be approved of by the Superintendent or his designee. Teachers compensation shall be paid on a pro-rata basis, annualized and retirement worthy. Paraprofessionals will be compensated at their regular hourly rate, retirement worthy.
All teacher Individual Professional Development Plans (IPDP) and school wide professional development plans must be submitted to and approved by the Superintendent or his designee.
The provisions found in Article V A(3)(d) “Normal Teaching Load” that limit teachers from teaching no more than 160 minutes without a lunch break, Planning and Development Period or an administrative duty shall be increased to 180 for Superintendent’s Schools; in addition, teachers in Superintendent’s Schools, to accommodate the additional hour of instructional time, will be permitted to teach up to 300 minutes per day.
Teachers in Superintendent Schools receive an additional 20 hours of professional development per year (in addition to the 30 existing required hours). The first twelve hours can be scheduled as two days during the week before school starts on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, or as two days scheduled on Saturdays or other non-pupil school days. The remaining eight hours can be scheduled in the same manner as the current eighteen hours of professional development (see Article V(E)). Teachers participating in these twenty hours shall be compensated on a pro rata basis on their annual salary for this additional time. The faculty will vote to decide the schedule for the additional twenty hours. The vote will be conducted with five school days’ notice to staff and with using a secret ballot. The twenty hours will receive retirement credit.
Teachers will have the option of excessing themselves from a newly-designated Superintendent School by February 1 of the previous school year provided that such notice is given before the beginning of the transfer process.
In each Superintendent School, a Joint Labor-Management Committee (made up of 2 BTU members, 2 chosen by the Superintendent and 1 jointly agreed upon member) will be convened to make recommendations to the Superintendent regarding school staff. The principal or headmaster can recommend to the Joint Committee that teachers, administrators, or other staff be reassigned from the school. The Joint Committee shall vote on any recommendation made by the principal or headmaster to reassign any staff member from the school. A vote in the affirmative by a simple majority shall result in the recommendation being forwarded to the Superintendent for approval and implementation. The Joint Committee may also make their own recommendations regarding the reassignment of additional school staff and/or the principal or headmaster to the Superintendent for approval and implementation. The Joint Committee must make staff reassignment recommendations to the Superintendent by January 15.
Recognizing that many of these schools are hard to staff schools, the district will offer an incentive to encourage individual or teams of experienced, excellent teachers to work in these schools. With additional curricular, leadership, professional development, or other responsibilities, these teachers may receive up to 5% above their base salary.
The scheduling of Tier 2 and 3 schools is an ongoing function of the BPS. Where possible, the BPS will attempt to accommodate a request for Superintendent’s Schools in Tier 3 to move to Tier 2 or Tier 1.
When a principal asks a teacher currently working at a superintendent’s school to fill a vacancy in another grade at the school, and the teacher objects to the assignment, the teacher may appeal the assignment to the BTU President and the Superintendent for resolution. Both must concur for the teacher to be reassigned.
The class size maxima in all regular education classes in Superintendent Schools shall be two students fewer than those maxima identified Article V, Section A(1)(a).