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Innovation Schools Regulations - Proposed Amendments to 603 CMR 48.00

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
November 18, 2011


I am presenting to the Board this month, for initial discussion and a vote to solicit public comment, proposed amendments to 603 CMR 48.00, the Innovation Schools Regulations. With the Board's approval, we will solicit public comments on these proposed changes and bring the amendments back to the Board for a final vote in January 2012.

Mass. Gen. Laws c.71, s.92 authorizes the establishment of Innovation Schools. These proposed amendments seek to update the current Innovation Schools Regulations, which were first adopted by the Board in July 2010. The proposed amendments provide additional definitions and clarify the approval process for new or conversion Innovation Schools.

Proposed Amendments

48.02 Definitions

A number of new or revised definitions have been included in the proposed regulations. New definitions are proposed for Academy, Innovation Schools Zone, Lead district, and Teacher, and revised definitions are proposed for Commissioner, Home district, Innovation school, and Sponsoring district.

48.04 Specific Provisions

Section (1) clarifies the approval process for innovation schools established by more than one district. It clarifies the responsibilities of the lead district and that the lead district's policies, including those with respect to transportation and student discipline, will be in effect at the school. This section also requires the innovation plan to explicitly address the tuition arrangement between the sponsoring school districts.

Section (2) specifies that an Innovation Schools Zone is composed of two or more innovation schools operating within a particular school district in accordance with common instructional themes, areas of focus, or other factors approved by the local school committee.

Section (3) addresses the process for submitting revised innovation school prospectuses. If the initial prospectus is rejected by the screening committee, the screening committee must deliberate and vote on the revised prospectus within 30 days of its receipt.

Section (4) clarifies that in the case of a conversion of an established program to an innovation academy, the innovation plan must include a description of the teachers to whom the innovation plan will be submitted for approval.

Section (5) requires sponsoring school districts to notify the Department once an innovation school has been authorized.

Section (6) provides a dispute resolution mechanism for operators of authorized innovation schools who encounter failure by sponsoring districts to support an innovation plan, including the provision of autonomies and flexibilities specified in the innovation plan.

48.05 Virtual Innovation Schools

The proposed amendment brings the regulatory language into alignment with the requirements of federal and state law regarding special education.

Attached are the proposed amendments to the Innovation Schools Regulations. Bridget Rodriguez, Director of Planning and Collaboration at the Executive Office of Education, and Marlon Davis, Director of our Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign, will be present at the Board meeting to answer your questions.

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Proposed Amendments to the Innovation Schools Regulations

Last Updated: November 21, 2011
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