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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2552         FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 510

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Aaron Vega

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act establishing a grant program for expanding learning time and improving student success.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Aaron Vega

5th Hampden

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

Michael R. Knapik

Second Hampden and Hampshire


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2552        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 510

By Mr.  Vega of Holyoke, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 510) of Aaron Vega, Kenneth I. Gordon and Michael R. Knapik relative to establishing a public school grant program for expanding learning time and improving student success.  Education. 

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE HOUSE, NO. 1921 OF 2011-2012.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act establishing a grant program for expanding learning time and improving student success.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1.  Chapter 69 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 1G, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the following section: -

              Section 1G.  (a) The board shall establish the minimum length for a school day and the minimum number of days in the school year.

              (b) There shall be an expanded learning time grant program. The program shall be administered by the department and shall have the following purposes:-

              (1) To expand learning time in the form of longer school days, additional school days or a combination of both;

              (2) To provide school districts the opportunity to add additional time to the school schedule to redesign their educational program and offer learning experiences focused on raising student achievement. This additional time shall be designed to:- provide more instructional opportunities in mathematics, literacy, science and other core subjects to support academic proficiency; provide educators with increased opportunities to work collaboratively and to participate in professional development; and provide school districts the opportunity to add or expand programs and curricula such as arts, music, health and wellness, sports, drama and other learning opportunities; (3) To provide a framework for sustained state funding for school districts who voluntarily extend their school day or year;(4) To encourage schools to form partnerships with community-based organizations and institutions of higher learning to provide additional opportunities to children; and (5) To provide for accountability to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of expanded learning time in participating districts. (c) For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:-

              “Department”, the department of elementary and secondary education.

              “ELT performance contract,” a plan developed by a school district that defines specific goals for the school over a 3 year period relating to student achievement, teacher collaboration and leadership, and student engagement and other data related to the implementation of the program, to measure and track the effectiveness of expanded learning time schools. Implementing expanded learning time schools, their district and the department must agree to the goals in the ELT performance contract during the first year of implementation as a condition of the school receiving an implementation grant from the department.

              “Expanded learning time”, the redesign of the school calendar with the addition of 300 hours to a school’s calendar through additional hours to the school day or additional days to the school year.

              “Exploratory grant proposal”, application for exploratory grants submitted to the department by a school district.

              “Exploratory grant”, grant awarded to a school district for the purpose of exploring and planning for a longer school day or year.

              “Implementation proposal”, a proposal developed by a school district to expand the school day or year at selected schools.

              “Implementation grant”, grant awarded to a school district to expand learning time by lengthening school days or the school year at selected schools through its implementation proposal.

             

              (d)(1) All school districts shall be eligible for exploratory and implementation grants under this program, but priority shall be given to: (i) districts with more than 25 per cent of students eligible for free and reduced lunch programs; (ii) districts in the bottom 10 per cent of statewide grade ten MCAS scores; (iii) districts whose proposals use partnerships with community-based organizations and institutions of higher education. Not less than 60 per cent of all funds granted under this program shall be awarded to prioritized districts.

             

              (2) Exploratory grant proposals under this section shall include, but not be limited to:-

              the process the district shall use to create an expanded learning time implementation proposal;

              a budget necessary to create this proposal;

              a rationale for expanding learning time that describes how the expansion of time will help the school attain its school improvement goals;

              the anticipated number of schools and students that will be affected; and

              identification of individuals who will participate in the planning process, including representatives of teachers unions, parents, administrators and school partners.

              (3) The department may issue guidelines for the submission of exploratory grant proposals in the absence of allocated grant funding.

              (e) (1) Districts shall be eligible for implementation grants after submitting an implementation proposal and having the proposal approved by the department. The implementation proposals shall include: -

              300 additional hours to the minimum school year as established under this section;

              mandatory additional time for all students in participating schools, provided that districts may phase in the additional time over a reasonable period of time as determined by the department and the department may provide for exceptions to this provision in extraordinary circumstances; a comprehensive restructuring of the entire school schedule and educational program to make better use of school time; a comprehensive budget sufficient to fund the approved proposal; evidence of support from any collective bargaining units, community-based organizations and higher education institutions involved in implementation; documentation of leadership capacity to implement the expansion of learning time; and identification of formative assessments that will be used periodically during the school year to assess student achievement.

              (f) Districts that are already participating in the program shall be eligible for implementation grants under paragraph (1).

              (g) The department shall develop guidelines for an annual review of the progress being made by each implementing district.

              (1) A school receiving an implementation grant shall have until the end of the fourth year of implementation to reach the goals specified in its ELT performance contract. If the school does not attain the goals as specified in the ELT performance contract at the end of the fourth year of implementation, the department shall not continue to renew the grant.

              (i)The department shall review the ELT performance contract of an ELT school at the conclusion of the fourth year of implementation for each school to determine whether the school has fulfilled the ELT performance contract.

              (ii) The department may consider extraordinary circumstances and grant 1 year waivers to schools to meet the goals of their ELT performance contract before the department ends the participation of said school in the program.

              (2) Each school and district shall participate in any evaluation or accountability process implemented by or authorized by the department.

              (h)(1) The department shall issue an annual report, on or before January 31, describing and analyzing the implementation of plans in all participating districts. The reports shall include: the number of school and school districts participating; the number of students attending these schools; the nature and type of changes in school learning time funded through this program by school and school district; a list of outside vendors with whom the department has contracted to provide technical support services, the amount each vendor has received, and the results obtained in each instance; the annual assessments of impact provided by the districts and any other data related to expanded learning time in participating schools and districts. This report shall be provided to the secretary of education, the senate president, the speaker of the house, the chairs of the house and senate ways and means committees and the joint committee on education.

              (3) The department shall provide comprehensive budget recommendations for this program each fiscal year, provided that such budget recommendations include:-

              the number of anticipated participating students, including students enrolled with a longer school schedule pursuant to a previously approved implementation plan and the number of students enrolled in newly approved implementation plans; funding of subsequent exploratory grants; and funding of implementation plans anticipated to be approved by the department, including state funding of not less than $1,400 per student in each participating school plus an annual inflation index consistent with the provisions of section 2 of chapter 70 starting in fiscal year 2013.

              (4) This recommendation shall be reported to the governor, the senate president, the speaker of the house of representatives, the chairs of the house and senate ways and means committees and the joint committee on education on or before December 1.

              (i)(1) The department may expend funds to administer and evaluate this program. These expenditures shall include, but not be limited to: (i) creation of an application process for exploratory grants; (ii) review and approval of qualifying exploratory grant proposals; (iii) review and approval of implementation proposals submitted by those districts awarded exploratory grants; (iv) technical assistance to participating schools and districts; (v) compliance monitoring of participating districts; and (vi) annual and longitudinal evaluations of the impact and implementation of the program. These expenditures shall not exceed 5 per cent of any funds appropriated for the purposes of this program.

              (2) The department shall, for the purpose of this program, provide technical support to participating schools and districts that may include: direct services, developing documentation of best practices and the creation of a network of implementing schools and districts. The department may partner or contract with external organizations as necessary to fulfill its obligations under this section.

             

              (i) The department may promulgate appropriate regulations to carry out this section.

              SECTION 2.  The department shall review the ELT performance contracts for schools that received implementation grants for the first time in the 2006-2007, 2007-2008 or 2008-2009 school years no earlier than the completion of the 2012-2013 school year.

              SECTION 3. At the conclusion of the 2014-2015 school year an expanded learning time review commission shall convene to evaluate the effectiveness of this program. The commission shall consist of  14 members: 1 of whom shall be the president of the senate, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the speaker of the house of representatives, or his designee, 1 of whom shall be the senate chair of the joint committee on education; 1 of whom shall be the house chair of the joint committee on education; 1 of whom shall be the secretary of education or his designee;1 of whom shall be the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association,  or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the president of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be a member selected by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents; 1 of whom shall be a member selected by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees; 1 of whom shall be the director of the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership, or his designee;  1 of whom shall be a representative from an educational non-profit organization; 1 of whom shall be a member representing the business community, both shall be chosen by the senate president; 1 shall be a representative from an educational non-profit organization; 1 shall be a member representing the business community, both shall be chosen by the speaker of the house.

              (2) The commission shall review the program in its entirety and issue a report of its findings after a 9-month period, including an analysis of all relevant data so as to determine the effectiveness of the program. The report shall include specific legislative recommendations including the following:-

              whether the current school calendar as defined by the department under subsection (a) is sufficient to provide an adequate education as defined by the state constitution to all students;

              whether the program impacted the expanded learning time schools ability to provide their students with a well-rounded education as well as improve student achievement, and the views of teachers, administrators, students and parents in those schools;

              whether the program should be expanded, and if so, at what rate, maintained or discontinued;

              a schedule and method for ongoing accountability of implementation proposals; and

              a permanent method of calculating the annual minimum state aid for an approved implementation proposal, on a per pupil basis, and, if appropriate, on a per community basis.

              (3) The commission shall report to the governor and the general court the results of its investigation and study and its recommendation, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry out such recommendation, by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and the house who shall forward the same to the chairs of the joint committee on education and the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before December 31, 2015.                

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