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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3461         FILED ON: 1/18/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 464

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Alice Hanlon Peisch

_______________

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 relative to improving student achievement .

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

Matthew A. Beaton

11th Worcester

Paul A. Schmid, III

8th Bristol


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3461        FILED ON: 1/18/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 464

By Ms. Peisch of Wellesley, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 464) of Alice Hanlon Peisch and others relative to improving student achievement.  Education. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act relative to improving student achievement .
 

              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 inserting after section 1I the following section:-

              Section 1I ½. (a) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education may, on the basis of student performance data collected pursuant to section1I, a school or district review performed under section 55A of chapter 15, or regulations adopted by the board of elementary and secondary education, designate 1 or more schools in a school district other than a Horace Mann charter school as focus schools. The board shall adopt regulations establishing standards for the commissioner to make such designations on the basis of data collected pursuant to section 1I or information from a school or district review performed under section 55A of chapter 15. Schools that score in the lowest 20 per cent statewide among schools serving common grade levels on a single measure developed by the department that do not otherwise meet the criteria for designation as underperforming or chronically underperforming pursuant to section 1J, shall be deemed eligible for designation as a focus school, provided that the commissioner makes such designations, according to state regulations, for schools in which one or more subgroups in the school are among the lowest performing 20 per cent of subgroups relative to all subgroups statewide and their own subgroups and grade span or if they have persistently low graduation rates.

              In adopting regulations allowing the commissioner to designate a school as a focus school, the board shall ensure that such regulations take into account multiple indicators of school quality in making determinations regarding focus status, including but not limited to student attendance, dismissal rates and exclusion rates, promotion rates, graduation rates or the lack of demonstrated significant improvement for 2 or more consecutive years in core academic subjects, either in the aggregate or among subgroups of students, including designations based on special education, low-income, English language proficiency and racial classifications.

              A school designated as a focus school shall operate in accordance with laws regulating other public schools, except as such provisions may conflict with this section. 

              (b) Upon the designation of a school as a  focus school in accordance with regulations developed pursuant to this section, the commissioner shall direct the superintendent of the district to convene a local stakeholder group for the purpose of developing a betterment plan for the school.  The local stakeholder group shall include: (1) the superintendent, or a designee; (2) the chair of the school committee, or a designee; (3) the president of the local teachers’ union, or a designee; (4) an administrator from the school, who may be the principal, chosen by the superintendent; (5) a teacher from the school chosen by the faculty of the school; and (6) a parent member of the school council chosen by the school council. The superintendent shall convene such group within 14 days of the commissioner designating a school as  a focus school. Meetings of the local stakeholder group shall be open to the public.

              (c) In creating the betterment plan, the local stakeholder group shall include provisions intended to maximize the rapid academic achievement of students at the school and shall, to the extent practicable, base the plan on student outcome data, including, but not limited to: (1) data collected pursuant to section 1I or information from a school or district review performed under section 55A of chapter 15; (2) student achievement on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System; (3) other measures of student achievement, approved by the commissioner, (4) student promotion and graduation rates; (5) achievement data for different subgroups of students, including low-income students as defined in chapter 70, limited English-proficient students and students receiving special education; and (6) student attendance, dismissal rates and exclusion rates.

              The local stakeholder group shall also include in the creation of the betterment plan the following, if applicable: (1) steps to address achievement gaps for limited English-proficient, special education and low-income students; (2) alternative English language learning programs for limited English proficient students, notwithstanding chapter 71A; and (3) a financial plan for the school, including any additional funds to be provided by the district, commonwealth, federal government or other sources.

              To assess the school across multiple measures of school performance and student success, the betterment plan shall include measurable annual goals including, but not limited to: (1) student attendance, dismissal rates and exclusion rates; (2) student safety and discipline; (3) student promotion and graduation and dropout rates; (4) student achievement on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System; (5) progress in areas of academic underperformance; (6) progress among subgroups of students, including low-income students as defined by chapter 70, limited English proficient students and students receiving special education; (7) reduction of achievement gaps among different groups of students; (8) student acquisition and mastery of twenty-first century skills; (9) development of college readiness, including at the elementary and middle school levels; (10) parent and family engagement; (11) building a culture of academic success among students; (12) building a culture of student support and success among school faculty and staff; and (13) developmentally appropriate child assessments from pre-kindergarten through third grade, if applicable.

              (e) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the local stakeholder group may also include in betterment plan provisions that allow the superintendent to: (1) reallocate the uses of the existing budget of the school for the purpose of expanding and enhancing professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators of the school, provided that said professional development opportunities are focused on improving curriculum instruction and enhancing student achievement; (2) provide additional funds to the school from the budget of the district, if the school does not already receive funding from the district at least equal to the average per pupil funding received for students of the same classification and grade level in the district,  to redesign existing professional development programs in order to improve collaboration and mentoring of administrators and teachers in the school; (3) provide funds, subject to appropriation and following consultation with applicable local unions, to increase the number of professional development hours required by administrators and teachers in the school; (4) provide funds, subject to appropriation and following consultation with applicable local unions, to expand the school day or school year or both of the school; (5) limit, suspend or change 1 or more school district policies or practices, as such policies or practices relate to improved student performance and achievement at the school; (6) include a provision of job-embedded professional development for teachers at the school, with an emphasis on strategies that involve teacher input and feedback; (7) provide for increased  opportunities for teacher planning time and collaboration, including professional learning communities, focused on improving student instruction; (8)  establish a plan for professional development for administrators at the school, with an emphasis on strategies that develop leadership skills and use the principles of distributive leadership; (9) redesign and refocus the use of existing teacher preparation periods in the school to ensure that such preparation period is utilized to improve student instruction with an emphasis of improved student performance and achievement at the school; and (10) use formative and summative assessments to track student progress and to inform the instructional strategies employed in the classroom.

              For a school with limited English proficient students, the professional development and planning time for teachers and administrators shall include specific strategies and content designed to maximize the rapid academic achievement of limited English proficient students at the school.

              (e) The local stakeholder group shall submit an initial betterment plan to the school committee and the commissioner within 30 days of its initial meeting. The school committee and the commissioner may propose modifications to the betterment plan and shall submit any proposed modifications to the local stakeholder group within 30 days of receiving the initial plan. The local stakeholder group shall consider and may incorporate, alter, or reject the proposed modifications submitted under this subsection. Within 30 days of receiving any proposed modifications under this subsection, the superintendent shall issue a final betterment plan for the school, as approved by the local stakeholder group, and shall make such plan immediately available to the public. If the local stakeholder group fails to approve and submit a final betterment plan within the time frame provided in this subsection, the commissioner will create the betterment plan for the school.

              (f) Within 30 days of the issuance of a final betterment plan under subsection (e), a school committee or local union may appeal to the commissioner regarding 1 or more components of the plan, including the absence of 1 or more modifications proposed under subsection (e). The commissioner may modify the plan if the commissioner determines that: (1) such modifications would further promote the rapid academic achievement of students in the applicable school; (2) a component of the plan was included, or a modification was excluded, on the basis of demonstrably-false information or evidence; or (3) the local stakeholder group failed to meet the requirements of subsections (b) to (e), inclusive. The decision of the commissioner regarding an appeal under this subsection shall be made within 30 days and shall be final.

              (g) Each betterment plan shall be authorized for a period of not more than 2 years, during which time such schools may not be designated as underperforming or chronically underperforming pursuant to subsections IJ. The superintendent shall develop annual goals for each component of the plan, in a manner consistent with subsections (b) to (d) inclusive. The superintendent, as applicable, shall be responsible for meeting the goals of the plan.

              (h) Each school designated by the commissioner as a focus school under subsection (a) shall be reviewed by the superintendent, in consultation with the principal of the school, at least annually. The purpose of the review shall be to determine whether the school has met the annual goals in its betterment plan and to assess the overall implementation of the plan. The review shall be in writing and shall be submitted to the commissioner and the relevant school committee not later than July 1 for the preceding school year. The review shall be submitted in a format determined by the department of elementary and secondary education.

              (i) Upon the expiration of a betterment plan, the commissioner shall conduct a review of the school to determine whether the school has improved sufficiently, requires further improvement or has failed to improve. On the basis of such review, the commissioner may determine that: (1) the school has improved sufficiently for the designation of the school as  a focus school to be removed; (2) the school has improved, but has not improved sufficiently for the designation of the school as a focus school to be removed, , in which case the superintendent may, with the approval of the commissioner, renew the plan or create a new or modified plan for an additional period of not more than 2 years, consistent with the requirements of subsections (b) to (f); or (3) consistent with the requirements of subsection (a) of section 1J, the school is underperforming or chronically underperforming. In carrying out this subsection, the superintendent shall: (1) in the case of a renewal of a betterment plan, determine the subsequent annual goals for each component of the plan with the input of the local stakeholder group as defined in subsection (b); or (2) create a new or modified betterment plan as necessary, consistent with the requirements of this section.

              (j) The board of elementary and secondary education shall establish regulations regarding the conditions under which a focus school shall no longer be designated as a focus school. Such regulations shall include provisions to allow a school to retain measures adopted in a betterment plan for a transitional period if, in the judgment of the commissioner, the measures would contribute to the continued improvement of the school. Such regulations shall also include provisions that clearly identify the conditions under which such a transitional period shall.

              SECTION 2. Subsection (a) of section 1J of chapter 69, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “thereunder.”, in line 45, the following:-

              “Notwithstanding the provisions of section 38 of chapter 71, if the school committee and collective bargaining representative of any district containing a school that scores in the lowest 20 per cent statewide as described in this subsection are unable to reach agreement on the terms of an educator evaluation system after bargaining in good faith for 30 days, the school committee may adopt the Department’s model evaluation system for educator evaluation. The provisions of Chapter 30B and Chapter 30, section 51 and 52 shall not apply where a superintendent, receiver or commissioner engages the services of an individual or non-profit entity to operate or assist in operating a school that scored in the lowest 20 per cent statewide, as described in this subsection.”

              SECTION 3. Subsection (d) of  section 1J of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “superintendent”, in line 169, the following:-“or, if one has been appointed pursuant to subsection (h), the school’s receiver,”.

              SECTION 4. Said subsection (d) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “superintendent”, in line 194, the following:- “or receiver”.

              SECTION 5. Said subsection (d) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “cause” in line 204, the following:- “by the superintendent”.

              SECTION 6. Said subsection (d) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “however,” in line 204, the following:-”that if a receiver has been appointed pursuant to subsection (h), the receiver may recommend to the superintendent that a teacher be dismissed. If the superintendent disagrees with the receiver’s determination, the superintendent must transfer the teacher to a position in another district school.”

              SECTION 7. Said subsection (d) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “teacher”, in line 204, the following word:- “shall”.

              SECTION 8. Subsection (l) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting at the end thereof the following sentence:-“Until the commissioner makes the determination required under this section, and any new or amended turnaround plan is approved, the terms of the expired turnaround plan will remain in effect.”

              SECTION 9. Subsection (o) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “and”,  in line 497, the following:- “, if a receiver has been appointed pursuant to subsection (r), the school’s receiver, and”.

              SECTION 10. Said subsection (o) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “superintendent”,  in line 501, the following:- “or if a receiver has been appointed pursuant to subsection (r), the school’s receiver”.

              SECTION 11. Said subsection (o) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking the word “commissioner”, in line 523, and inserting in place thereof the following:- “superintendent or, if a receiver has been appointed pursuant to subsection (r), the school’s receiver”. 

              SECTION 12. Said subsection (o) of said section 1J of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the third paragraph and inserting in place thereof, the following paragraph:-

              A teacher with professional teacher status in a school declared underperforming or chronically underperforming may be dismissed for good cause by the superintendent; provided, however, that if a receiver has been appointed pursuant to subsection (r), the receiver may recommend to the superintendent that a teacher be dismissed. If the superintendent disagrees with the receiver’s determination, the superintendent must transfer the teacher to a position in another district school. The teacher shall receive 5 days written notice of the decision to terminate which shall include without limitation an explanation of the reason why the superintendent or receiver is not retaining the teacher in the school; provided that the teacher may seek review of a termination decision with 5 days after receiving notice of the teacher’s termination by filing a petition for expedited arbitration with the commissioner; provided further, that except as otherwise provided herein section 42 of chapter 71 shall apply to a petition filed pursuant to this section; provided further, that the commissioner shall cause an arbitrator to be selected pursuant to the procedures in section 42 of chapter 71 within 3 days of receipt of petition and shall conduct and complete a hearing within 10 days of receipt of the petition; provided, further, that in reviewing dismissal decisions, the arbitrator shall consider the components of the turnaround plan and shall also consider any personnel evaluations conducted that are consistent with the guidelines established pursuant to section 1B; and provided, further, that the arbitrator’s decision shall be issued within 10 days from the completion of the hearing.

              SECTION 13. Subsection (a) of section 1K of chapter 69, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the second sentence in the second paragraph the following sentence:- “The selection and engagement of the receiver shall not be subject to the provisions of sections 51 and 52 of chapter 30.

              SECTION 14. Subsection (a) of section 1K of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “commissioner”, in line 24, the following:-“The selection and engagement of the receiver shall not be subject to the provisions of Chapter 30, sections 51 and 52.”

              SECTION 15. Said subsection (a) of said section 1K of said chapter 69, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting at the end of the second paragraph, the following sentence:- “The provisions of chapter 30B shall not apply where a receiver engages the services of an individual or non-profit entity to operate or assist in operating a school.”

              SECTION 16. Subsection (b) of said section 1K of said chapter 69 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “1J”, in line 46, the following words:-

              And may include any changes to existing school turnaround plans as the commissioner and receiver consider necessary. The plan shall also focus on”.;

              And by striking out, in line 46, the word “and”.

              SECTION 17. Subsection (d) of said section 1K of said chapter 69 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “the”, the first time it appears in line 156, the following words:-

              provisions of section (e) below shall apply to any change in the compensation or benefits of an administrator, teacher, or staff member,

              And by striking out, in line 156, the words “the commissioner” and inserting in place thereof the following:-

              ;

              And by striking out, in lines 156 through 158, the following words:-

              shall not reduce the compensation of an administrator, teacher, or staff member unless the hours of the person are proportionately reduced

              And by striking out, in line 164 the following words:-

              , as such policies or practices related to the underperforming schools in the district;

              And by striking out the second paragraph of subsection (d) of section 1K of chapter 69.

              And by striking in paragraph three of subsection (d) lines 192 and 193 the following:-

              School declared underperforming or chronically underperforming

              And by adding in line 193 the following:-

              District declared chronically underperforming

              And by striking in the same paragraph line 196 “commissioner/superintendent” and by adding in place thereof the following:- receiver

              And by striking in line 197 the word “school” and inserting in place thereof the following word:-

              district

              SECTION 18. Subsection (e) of said section 1K of said chapter 69 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 218, the word “commissioner” and inserting in place thereof the following word:-

              receiver

              And by striking out, in lines 219 and 220, the words “at an underperforming or chronically underperforming school” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-

              in a chronically underperforming district

              And by inserting after the word “compensation”, in line 221, the following words:-

              or benefits

              And by striking out, in line 222, the words “at the school” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-

              in the district, including any underperforming and chronically underperforming schools

              And by striking out, in line 225, the words “school committee”, and inserting in place thereof the following word:-

              receiver

              And by striking out, in line 231, the word “school” and inserting in place thereof the following word:-

              district

              And by striking out, in line 223, the words “of the school” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-

              in the district

              And by striking out, in line 240, the word “school committee” and inserting in place thereof the following word:-

              receiver

              And by striking out, in line 257, the words “the designation of the school as underperforming or chronically underperforming”

              And by striking out, in line 259, the word “school” and inserting in place thereof the following word:-

              district

              SECTION 19. Subsection (i)(1) of section 89 of said chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 154, the word “new”.

              And by inserting after the last sentence in line 173 the following sentence:-

              Applications to establish the 14 Horace Mann charter schools pursuant to this clause may be submitted and granted at any time during the year.

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