Historic partnership between Charter Schools and School District continues.
March 16, 2012
The Philadelphia Great Schools Compact unites the mayor, school district and charter school leaders in a bold, collaborative plan to focus on replicating and sustaining the most successful school models, regardless of their governance structure. The Compact was approved by the School Reform Commission last month and has been signed by the Mayor, SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos, Acting Schools Superintendent Leroy Nunery, Ph.D., and organizations representing all but six of the city’s charter schools.
Nine people have been selected to serve on the Compact Committee, which will begin meeting in January to formulate recommendations to the SRC for an improved, multiple-measures school accountability framework. The Committee also will make recommendations for increasing collaboration between district and charter schools in such areas as serving special-needs students, facility planning, developing school leaders, and aligning enrollment schedules and practices.
The following are the latest notes for the Greater Schools Compact session.
- School District representatives gave an update on School Performance Index (SPI) rankings, the rollout of the 2012 Renaissance Initiative, and the reorganization process (with the Boston Consulting Group).
- Community engagement meetings at those schools selected for the Renaissance Initiative were scheduled for early March.
- The district is considering how to better handle expressed concerns relating to the recent SPI calculations, given that it wasn’t clear to schools how parent and student surveys would be handled in the overall score this year.
- The SRC is scheduled to vote on charter renewals April 19th. Votes on modification requests will not happen until after that date, with no firm date established yet.
- The Boston Consulting Group is studying everything in the District in its effort to craft proposals for financial and operational restructuring; a number of internal working groups have been formed to assist in BCG’s work, and some of these overlap with the Compact working groups (e.g., talent development). The Compact Committee will coordinate with District representatives to make sure working groups are sharing information and striving to avoid making disconnected recommendations to the SRC.
- Charter school representatives noted that District communication to schools had led to possible confusion about the Compact Committee’s role in calculating the most recent SPI scores; it had none. The Committee members agreed they should make clear to schools whenever the issue comes up that the Committee is aiming to recommend improvements to the school-performance framework for the future but that it played no role in calculating the 2010-11 scores.
- The Committee reviewed some summary feedback from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation regarding the “concept paper” submitted to the foundation in February. The good news is that the Foundation has invited Philadelphia to participate in the next round of the RFP process, which requires a more detailed submission of action plans by May 1. Gates is encouraged by the level of cooperation in evidence in the concepts put forth.
- Each of the working groups provided progress updates:
- Talent Development is currently researching national best practices and programs that have a positive track record in urban leadership development. This work group will look to work closely with the district’s reorganization committee on urban leadership and professional development.
- Shared Services recently met with staff from the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children to learn more about work they’ve done with partners statewide to develop a shared-services platform that helps a variety of schools and child-care providers tap into quality services with economies of scale.
- Facilities fielded a survey of school operators to understand future desires for facilities expansions or relocations, as well as if charters would be interested in purchasing or leasing properties that are currently owned by the District.
- Accountability continues to work on prospective improvements to the school accountability framework that would be recommended for use in assessing school performance in the 2011-12 school year.
- Enrollment & Student Data has not met recently but will meet in mid-March to dig