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From the ECS State Policy Database: Accountability--School Improvement - This policy database—updated weekly—is made possible by your state's fiscal support of the Education Commission of the States....

Connections between Teacher Perceptions of School Effectiveness and Student Outcomes in Idaho's Low-Achieving Schools - After examining the survey of teacher responses in 75 Idaho schools working on school improvement, researchers found schools with highest teacher reports of the presence of the goals, processes and supports essential for student success didn't have higher rates of reading proficiency, math proficiency or attendance. Idaho educators and others using teacher perception surveys should proceed cautiously in making decisions based on perception surveys. (Caitlin Scott and Traci Fantz, REL Northwest, March 2014) ...

Redefining the School District in Tennessee - Relatively new, statewide recovery school districts represent another effort to turnaround bad schools. This paper from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute looks at Tennessee's Achievement School District (ASD). Created with Race to the Top funds won in 2010, ASD runs some school directly and uses charters for others. The goal is to take schools at the bottom 5% and turn them to top 25% in five years. (Nelson Smith, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, April 2013)...

Great Expectations, Mixed Results: Standards and Performance in Denver’s New Public Schools - This paper examines academic growth of every newly created school in Denver, Colorado that commenced operations between 2007 and 2011 by examining their median growth percentile (MGP). Denver Public Schools (DPS) does not currently set advance standards or expectations for the performance of new schools and the lack of consistent standards and metrics undermines the strategy and promise of opening new schools. The authors recommend that in opening any new school, the district should determine multiple measures and targets, and then judge success (or failure) based on performance over time against this set of criteria. (The Donnell-Kay Foundation, 2012)...

Transforming Public Education in New Orleans: The Recovery School District - This report provides a comprehensive history of the RSD in New Orleans from its inception to the present. The authors present an analysis of some of the issues and policies that have defined the RSD over the past eight years, as well as an examination of the interplay among the contextual conditions and the community’s ability to engage and restructure to ensure sustainable change in public education. The report concludes by discussing the continuing role of state intervention and highlighting the issues currently facing the RSD in New Orleans. (Cowen Institute, 2011)...

State Capacity for School Improvement: A First Look at Agency Resources - Researchers examined eight state education agencies to determine how they could respond to federal pressures for states to play a larger role in school turnarounds. The authors found federal strictures dictate how monies are used for state education agency staffing for certain programs. With some flexibility the agencies could provide some additional support for typically underfunded school improvement initiatives. (Center on Reinventing Public Education, August 2011)...

School Turnarounds in Colorado: Untangling a Web of Supports for Struggling Schools - Over the past few years education policymakers have increased their focus on the needs of students in struggling schools. Congress and the federal Department of Education have developed initiatives that alter the options available under federal law for state, district and school leaders to intervene in persistently struggling schools. Colorado has significantly changed their approaches to school turnarounds. Based on their examination of the state's approach in recent months and report there are several potential areas to strengthen and improve its approach in future years. (July Kowal and Joe Ableidinger, Donnell-Kay Foundation, January 2011)...

Restructuring 'Restructuring': Improving Interventions for Low-Performing Schools and Districts - Education Sector research finds that school districts and states often avoid making the hard choices that might lead to real reform. This report documents how few states and districts use the tools provided to them by NCLB. Instead of closing schools or replacing personnel, districts and states most often choose other, less aggressive actions. They hire consultants, redesign the curriculum or create smaller learning communities. This report lays out a series of specific policy changes that can be made at the local, state, and federal levels. (Robert Manwaring, Education Sector, April 2010)...


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