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603 CMR 2.00:
Accountability and Assistance for School Districts and Schools

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2.03: Accountability and Assistance for Districts and Schools in All Levels

(1) Framework for district and school accountability and assistance The Department shall implement a five-level system for district and school accountability and assistance, approved by the Board and known as the framework for district accountability and assistance, for the purpose of improving student achievement. Both the priority for assistance and the degree of intervention shall increase from Level 1 to Level 5, as the severity and duration of identified problems increase. Under the framework, districts shall hold their schools accountable for educating their students well and assist them in doing so; the Department shall hold districts accountable for both of these functions and assist them in fulfilling them.
(2) District reviews The Department may conduct a district review, encompassing the district and its schools, of any district in Levels 1-5.
(3) District Analysis and Review Tool The Department shall provide the District Analysis and Review Tool to every district, including multiple data elements, giving schools the capability of comparing themselves with similar schools or other schools of their choice, and giving districts the capability of comparing themselves with similar districts or other districts of their choice.
(4) District standards and indicators
(a) District reviews, improvement planning, and other forms of accountability and assistance shall be based on standards of effective policy and practice in:
  1. Leadership and governance;
  2. Curriculum and instruction;
  3. Assessment;
  4. Human resources and professional development;
  5. Student support; and
  6. Financial and asset management.
(b) The Department shall publish a detailed version of the standards, as well as associated indicators which shall include the following conditions for school effectiveness:
  1. Effective district systems for school support and intervention: The district has systems and processes for anticipating and addressing school staffing, instructional, and operational needs in timely, efficient, and effective ways, especially for its lowest performing schools.
  2. Effective school leadership: The district and school take action to attract, develop, and retain an effective school leadership team that obtains staff commitment to improving student learning and implements a clearly defined mission and set of goals.
  3. Aligned curriculum: The school's taught curricula are aligned to state curriculum frameworks and the MCAS performance level descriptions, and are also aligned vertically between grades and horizontally across classrooms at the same grade level and across sections of the same course.
  4. Effective instruction: Instructional practices are based on evidence from a body of high quality research and on high expectations for all students and include use of appropriate research-based reading and mathematics programs; the school staff has a common understanding of high-quality evidence-based instruction and a system for monitoring instructional practice.
  5. Student assessment: The school uses a balanced system of formative and benchmark assessments.
  6. Principal's staffing authority: The principal has the authority to make staffing decisions based on the School Improvement Plan and student needs, subject to district personnel policies, budgetary restrictions and the approval of the superintendent.
  7. Professional development and structures for collaboration: Professional development for school staff includes both individually pursued activities and school-based, job-embedded approaches, such as instructional coaching. It also includes content-oriented learning. The school has structures for regular, frequent collaboration to improve implementation of the curriculum and instructional practice. Professional development and structures for collaboration are evaluated for their effect on raising student achievement.
  8. Tiered instruction and adequate learning time: The school schedule is designed to provide adequate learning time for all students in core subjects. For students not yet on track to proficiency in English language arts or mathematics, the school provides additional time and support for individualized instruction through tiered instruction, a data-driven approach to prevention, early detection, and support for students who experience learning or behavioral challenges, including but not limited to students with disabilities and English language learners.
  9. Students' social, emotional, and health needs: The school creates a safe school environment and makes effective use of a system for addressing the social, emotional, and health needs of its students that reflects the behavioral health and public schools framework.
  10. Family-school engagement: The school develops strong working relationships with families and appropriate community partners and providers in order to support students' academic progress and social and emotional well-being.
  11. Strategic use of resources and adequate budget authority: The principal makes effective and strategic use of district and school resources and has sufficient budget authority to do so.
(5) District improvement planning Every district shall develop and implement an annual self-evaluation and district improvement planning process using the district standards and indicators established under 603 CMR 2.03(4).
(a) The district's self-evaluation and planning process shall result, every three years, in a comprehensive written three-year District Improvement Plan to improve the performance of the district and its schools.
(b) Each year, every school shall adopt school performance goals and develop and implement a written School Improvement Plan to advance those goals and improve student performance. The School Improvement Plan shall be aligned with the District Improvement Plan.
(c) A district's District Improvement Plan and School Improvement Plans shall be based on an analysis of data, including but not limited to data on student performance and the District Analysis and Review Tool provided by the Department under 603 CMR 2.03(3), and an assessment of actions the district and its schools must take to improve that performance.
(d) District Improvement Plans and School Improvement Plans shall, in form and content, conform to requirements set forth in M.G.L. c. 69, § 1I.
(6) Assistance from the Department
(a) The Department shall make available a variety of such forms of assistance as examples, tools, templates, protocols, and surveys to assist districts and schools in assessing themselves and improving student performance.
(b) The Department shall also make available to districts, to the extent funding allows, professional development opportunities and assistance from Department staff members, Department contractors, or third party partners. Priority for receiving professional development or assistance, as well as the degree of intervention by the Department, shall increase from Level 1 to Level 5.

Last Updated: October 13, 2017
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