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Education Laws and Regulations

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

Section:
2.02:
2.03:
2.04:
2.05:
2.06:
2.07:
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2.05: Accountability and Assistance for Districts and Schools in Level 4

(1) Placement of districts in Level 4
(a) A district shall be placed in Level 4 if any of its schools has been placed in Level 4, pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05 (2).
(b) The Board may place a district in Level 4 upon recommendation of the commissioner based on findings from a district review, monitoring report, or follow-up review showing serious deficiencies, relating to one or more district standards, that are likely if they are not addressed effectively and in a timely manner to have a substantial negative effect on student performance in the district, putting the district at risk of being placed in Level 5.
(c) A district may be placed in Level 4 pursuant to both 603 CMR 2.05(1)(a) and 603 CMR 2.05(1)(b).
(d) A district declared underperforming by a vote of the Board prior to April 27, 2010, shall remain in Level 4 until the commissioner makes the determination described in 603 CMR 2.05(12)(b) and it has no schools in Level 4, unless the Board has voted to remove the district from underperforming status.
(2) Placement of schools in Level 4
(a) A school shall be eligible for placement in Level 4 if it scores in the lowest 20% statewide of schools serving common grade levels on a single measure developed by the Department that takes into account at least:
  1. school MCAS performance over a four-year period based on Composite Performance Index (CPI) in English language arts; CPI in mathematics; and percentages of students scoring in the "warning" or "failing" category on MCAS; and
  2. improvement in student academic performance.
(b) The commissioner may place a school in Level 4 on the basis of quantitative data including but not limited to:
  1. school MCAS performance over a four-year period based on Composite Performance Index (CPI) in English language arts; CPI in mathematics; and percentages of students scoring in the "warning" or "failing" category on MCAS;
  2. improvement in school MCAS performance as represented by change in CPI (for years available, up to four);
  3. annual growth in MCAS performance for students at the school as compared with peers across the Commonwealth (for years available, up to four);
  4. in the case of high schools, graduation and dropout rates; or
  5. other indicators of school performance including student attendance, dismissal, suspension, exclusion, and promotion rates upon the determination of each indicator's reliability and validity, or lack of demonstrated significant improvement for two 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; or on the basis of information from a school or district review performed under M.G.L. c.15, § 55A.
(c) Not more than 4% of the total number of public schools may be in Levels 4 and 5, taken together, at any given time.
(d) Any school designated by the Board as chronically underperforming prior to 2010 may be placed in Level 4.
(3) Notification The Department shall notify districts of the placement of any of their schools in Level 4. The notification shall be made to the school committee, superintendent, and local teachers' union or association president, and the principal and the parent organization of any school placed in Level 4.
(4) Appointment of assistance and accountability personnel Upon placement of a district in Level 4 the Department may make any or all of the following appointments:
(a) an assistance liaison:
  1. to support the district in developing and carrying out a turnaround plan for each of its Level 4 schools, if any; and
  2. to support the district in district improvement planning pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(8), if required;
(b) an accountability monitor to determine and report on:
  1. whether the goals, benchmarks, and timetable in the turnaround plan for each of the district's Level 4 schools, if any, are being met; and
  2. if the district has a Level 4 District Plan pursuant to 2.08(c), whether its goals, benchmarks, and timetable are being met; and
(c) an individual or team to conduct monitoring site visits to the district or its schools.
(5) Turnaround plans for Level 4 schools
(a) The turnaround plan developed for each school placed in Level 4 shall:
  1. be authorized, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, s. § 1J(j), for a period of up to three years;
  2. fulfill the other requirements of M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J;
  3. provide for the implementation of the conditions for school effectiveness in 603 CMR 2.03(4)(b);
  4. include benchmarks by which to measure progress toward the annual goals included in the plan pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J, and the conditions for school effectiveness, and a timetable for achieving those benchmarks;
  5. include descriptions of the assistance to be provided by the Department in support of the action steps in the plan, as agreed on by the Department and the superintendent, subject to the availability of resources for the Department to provide the assistance; and
  6. be prepared on a format provided by the Department.
(b) Once the superintendent has received the recommendations of the local stakeholder group under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(b), the superintendent may request that the school committee and any union bargain or reopen the bargaining of the relevant collective bargaining agreement, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(g). If necessary, the 30 days provided by M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(e) for the superintendent to submit a turnaround plan for modifications to the local stakeholder group, school committee, and commissioner shall be extended, without exceeding the time periods mandated by M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(g), to provide time for bargaining, ratification, a dispute resolution process, the submission of a decision by the joint resolution committee, or a resolution by the commissioner, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(g).
(c) Within 30 days of the issuance of the superintendent's final turnaround plan under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(e), the commissioner shall review the plan and may, in consultation with the superintendent, modify the plan if the commissioner determines that
  1. such modifications would further promote the rapid academic achievement of students in the school;
  2. a component of the plan was included, or a modification under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(e) was excluded, on the basis of demonstrably false information or evidence; or
  3. the superintendent failed to meet the requirements of M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(b) to (e), inclusive.
(d) Within 30 days of the issuance of the superintendent's final turnaround plan under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(e), the school committee or local union may appeal to the commissioner one or more components of the plan pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(f). Within 30 days of the receipt of such appeal, the commissioner shall decide the appeal and may, in consultation with the superintendent, make one or more modifications to the plan based on the appeal if the commissioner makes any of the determinations in 603 CMR 2.05(5)(c)1 through 3. The commissioner's decision on the appeal shall be final.
(e) Within 30 days of the receipt of the last appeal made under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(f) and 603 CMR 2.05(5)(d), or, if no such appeal is received within 30 days of the issuance of the superintendent's final turnaround plan under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(e), at the expiration of those 30 days, the commissioner shall return the turnaround plan to the superintendent incorporating any modifications made under 603 CMR 2.05(5)(c) or (d), or both. Such return of the plan to the superintendent shall constitute the commissioner's approval, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(b), of the plan returned.
(6) Annual reviews of Level 4 schools Superintendents shall use a format provided by the Department for the reviews to be submitted to the commissioner and school committee at least annually pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(k).
(7) Receiver for a school in Level 4
(a) If the superintendent appoints a receiver for a school in Level 4 pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, s. 1J(h), the superintendent shall define the scope of the receiver's powers, up to and including all of the powers of the superintendent over the school, including all of the powers granted by M.G.L. c. 69, s. 1J. The superintendent may from time to time modify the scope of the receiver's powers based on conditions in the school. The receiver shall report directly to the superintendent.
(b) If the commissioner requires the superintendent to terminate the receiver for a school in Level 4 pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(k), the superintendent may, with the approval of the commissioner, select and appoint another receiver for the school in accordance with M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(h) and 603 CMR 2.05(7)(a).
(8) District improvement planning for Level 4 districts
(a) The turnaround plan developed pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(5) for any school in Level 4 shall include, among its provisions pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(5)(a)(3) for the implementation of the conditions for school effectiveness, provisions for the improvement of district systems for school support and intervention in accordance with the condition for school effectiveness in 603 CMR 2.03(4)(b)(1).
(b) If a district has been placed in Level 4 pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(1)(b), the Department shall notify the Level 4 district that it is required to develop a Level 4 District Plan in order to correct the serious deficiencies identified in the district pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(1)(b); if a district has been placed in Level 4 pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(1)(a), the Department may notify it that it is required to develop a Level 4 District Plan in order to aid in turning around its Level 4 school or schools.
(c) Each Level 4 district notified by the Department pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(8)(b) shall develop a Level 4 District Plan that includes goals and benchmarks appropriate to the reasons it has been required to develop a Level 4 District Plan, along with strategies, action steps, and a timetable for achieving those goals and benchmarks. The Level 4 District Plan shall be prepared on a format provided by the Department.
(d) A Level 4 district shall submit any required Level 4 District Plan and any successor Level 4 District Plan for approval by the Department. A district whose Level 4 District Plan is approved by the Department shall receive priority for Department assistance. From year to year, continued priority for Department assistance shall be dependent on the district's success in achieving the goals and benchmarks in the approved Level 4 District Plan or approved successor Level 4 District Plan in accordance with the approved timetable.
(9) Annual report to Board The commissioner shall report annually to the Board on the progress made by districts and schools in Level 4.
(10) Removal of school from Level 4
(a) The commissioner shall define for each Level 4 school the academic and other progress that it must make for it to be removed from Level 4. Such progress may include:
  1. an increase in student achievement for three years for students overall and for each subgroup of students, as shown by;
    1. an increase in MCAS scores and an increase in median student growth percentile;
    2. a reduction in the proficiency gap;
    3. (for a high school) a higher graduation rate; and
    4. (for a high school) a measure of postsecondary success, once the Department identifies one that is sufficiently reliable, valid, and timely; and
  2. (ii) progress in implementing the conditions for school effectiveness described in 603 CMR 2.03(4)(b).
(b) The commissioner, in defining the required progress for each school, shall customize it to the particular reasons the school was placed in Level 4, defining it as any or all of the progress in 2.05(10)(a)1 and 2, or any other progress the commissioner determines appropriate.
(c) After consultation with the superintendent, the commissioner shall remove a school from Level 4 when, at any time, the commissioner determines, based on evidence that may include evidence from a report from the accountability monitor appointed pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(4)(b), a review by the superintendent submitted pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § J(k), a review conducted by the commissioner pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(l), or a district review or a follow-up review, that:
  1. the school has achieved the academic and other progress defined by the commissioner under 603 CMR 2.05(10)(a) and (b) as necessary to allow it to be removed from Level 4; and
  2. the district has the capacity to continue making progress in improving school performance without the accountability and assistance provided due to the school's placement in Level 4.
(d) At the expiration of the turnaround plan, in conducting a review of the school pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(l), the commissioner shall consider whether the conditions described in 603 CMR 2.05(10)(c)1 and 2 exist. If the commissioner determines that both of these conditions exist, he or she shall remove the school from Level 4.
(e) Notwithstanding the foregoing requirements of 603 CMR 2.04(10), the commissioner may remove from Level 4 any school for which he or she approves a proposal of closure.
(11) Effect of removal of school from Level 4; transitional period
(a) Upon the commissioner's removal of a school from Level 4 pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(10)(c) or (d), the provisions of M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J, for schools designated as underperforming shall no longer apply to it and the employment of any receiver for the school shall end.
(b) The district and school may continue their relationship with any external partner appointed to advise or assist the superintendent in the implementation of the turnaround plan and may continue to use the turnaround plan in order to continue to improve school performance, renewing or revising it as appropriate, provided that any feature of the turnaround plan that was adopted pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(d), in contravention of any general or special law to the contrary shall be discontinued unless:
  1. no more than one year before the removal of the school from Level 4 the superintendent proposed to continue such feature of the turnaround plan for a transitional period after the school's removal from Level 4, supporting this proposal with a written explication of the reasons this continuation is necessary and providing the school committee, the teachers' union or association, and the parent organization for the school with a copy of the proposal and supporting documents; and
  2. before removing the school from Level 4 the commissioner determined, after considering any opposition from the school committee, the teachers' union or association, or the parent organization for the school, that such feature of the turnaround plan would contribute to the continued improvement of the school and should continue after the removal.
The superintendent may propose to continue and the commissioner may allow to continue more than one such feature of the turnaround plan.
(c) Upon making a determination pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(11)(b)2 that such feature or features of the turnaround plan should continue, the commissioner shall define the progress that the school must make for each continuing feature of the plan to be discontinued.
(d) On determination by the commissioner at any time, based on evidence that may include evidence from a school or district review or a follow-up review, that the school has made the progress defined under 603 CMR 2.05(11)(c) as necessary to allow a continuing feature of the turnaround plan to be discontinued
  1. such feature shall be discontinued; and
  2. any powers granted to the commissioner or Board with respect to the school under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J, that did not cease on removal of the school from Level 4 shall cease.
(e) Two years after the removal of the school from Level 4, if any of the continuing features of the turnaround plan has yet to be discontinued, the commissioner shall conduct a review of the school to determine whether such continuing feature or features should remain in place or be discontinued.
(12) Removal of district from Level 4
(a) A district placed in Level 4 because one or more of its schools has been placed in Level 4 shall be removed from Level 4 when the district no longer has a school in Level 4, unless the district has a Level 4 District Plan and the commissioner has not yet made the determination described in 603 CMR 2.05(12)(b).
(b) A district with a Level 4 District Plan shall be removed from Level 4 by the commissioner, unless it has a school or schools in Level 4, when the commissioner determines, based on evidence that may include evidence from a monitoring report or from a follow-up review, that
  1. the district has satisfactorily achieved the goals and benchmarks of its Level 4 District Plan; and
  2. the district has the capacity to continue making progress without the accountability and assistance provided by Level 4.

Regulatory Authority:
M.G.L. c. 69, § 1B; c. 69, §§ 1J and 1K, as amended by St. 2010, c. 12, § 3; c. 71, § 38G.



Last Updated: September 7, 2012
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