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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Level 4 Schools: Third Year Decisions

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
September 20, 2013

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At the upcoming special Board meeting on September 23, 2013, we will be sharing information about my recent decisions concerning the accountability status of the state's first cohort of Level 4 (underperforming) schools that were designated in 2010. These decisions represent a major milestone in the implementation of the state's 2010 Act Relative to the Achievement Gap, marking the schools' completion of three years of implementation of their Turnaround Plans. The information will include:

  • A brief review of the criteria and decision-making options for Level 4 schools at the end of their three-year turnaround plans,
  • My exit decisions for the remaining 33 Level 4 schools named in 2010 1, and
  • Next steps for Level 4 schools that I intend to designate as Level 5.

Background

Over the past year, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has been kept abreast of the Level 4 school exit decision-making process. At the November 26, 2012 Board meeting, Department staff presented you with the criteria for Level 4 schools exit determinations and an overview of Level 4 schools' progress based on two years of data. More recently, at the special Board meeting on June 24, 2013, we presented additional detail about the framework being developed to inform fall 2013 decisions for schools designated as Level 4 in 2010. Our presentation focused on the decision-making and intervention processes, and took a closer look at Level 4 schools at either end of the performance spectrum. (See Attachment 1 for background information on Level 4 school exit decisions.)

Consistent with statutory authority and responsibility, on September 18, 2013, I announced determinations for each of the remaining 33 Level 4 schools named in 2010. Each school's designation was based on student performance trends and evidence of school and district systems to sustain progress. (See Attachment 2 for a list of the exit determinations for each of the 33 Level 4 schools named in 2010.)

In addition, each year, in accordance with the Board's regulations, I name new Level 4 schools based on the most recent school accountability data. This action positions the Department to support selected schools where student performance is very low and improvement trends are not strong, by providing access to the interventions and flexibilities afforded to schools with this designation. Accordingly, on September 20, 2013, I will make public my decisions naming seven new Level 4 schools across the state based on 2013 accountability data. (See Attachment 3 for the list of the newly identified schools.)

I look forward to our discussion regarding Level 4 schools.

Enclosures:

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Attachment 1: Background information on Level 4 School Exit Decisions
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Attachment 2: Exit determinations for the Level 4 schools named in March 2010
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Attachment 3: New Level 4 schools named in September 2013
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Attachment 4: Relevant excerpts from the law and regulations

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Last Updated: October 2, 2013
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