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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:
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2.06 Accountability and Assistance for Districts and Schools in Level 5

(1) Placement of districts in Level 5
(a) A district shall be eligible for placement in Level 5 if it is not a single-school district and it scores in the lowest 10% statewide of districts of the same grade levels on a single measure developed by the Department that takes into account at least:
  1. district 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 achievement.
(b) The Board may place an eligible district in Level 5 of the framework for district accountability and assistance, if the commissioner so recommends, on the basis of one or more of the following:
  1. a district review report;
  2. a report from an accountability monitor appointed pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(4)(b);
  3. a follow-up review report;
  4. quantitative indicators such as student attendance, dismissal, suspension, exclusion, promotion, graduation, and dropout 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 annual growth in MCAS performance for students in the district as compared with peers across the Commonwealth; or
  5. the failure of a Level 4 district to meet, in a timely manner, the benchmarks or goals in its current Level 4 District Plan as approved by the Department pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(8)(d).
(c) Not more than 2.5% of the total number of school districts may be in Level 5 at any given time.
(d) Before the commissioner recommends that an eligible district be placed in Level 5, a district review team including at least one member with expertise in the academic achievement of students with limited English proficiency shall conduct a district review to assess and report on the reasons for the district's underperformance and the prospects for improvement, unless the commissioner determines that a new review is unnecessary because a district review conducted within the last year is adequate.
(e) Before placing a district in Level 5, the Board shall consider the findings of the most recent district review, as well as multiple quantitative indicators of district quality such as those listed in 603 CMR 2.06(1)(b)4.
(f) School district and municipal officials, including the school committee, as well as the local teachers' union or association president or designee, a representative of the local parent organization, and members of the public, shall have an opportunity to be heard by the Board before final action by the Board to place the district in Level 5.
(2) Placement of schools in Level 5
(a) The commissioner may place a Level 4 school in Level 5 at the expiration of its turnaround plan if the commissioner determines:
  1. that the school has failed to improve as required by the goals, benchmarks, or timetable of the turnaround plan; or
  2. that the school has failed to make significant improvement and that conditions in the district make it unlikely that the school will make significant improvement unless it is placed in Level 5.
(b) School, school district, and municipal officials, including the school committee, as well as the local teachers' union or association president or designee, a representative of the school's parent organization, and family members of students at the school, shall have an opportunity to meet with the commissioner or his or her designee before the commissioner places a school in Level 5.
(3) Appointment and powers of receiver for a district in Level 5
(a) Following the placement of a district in Level 5 under 603 CMR 2.06(1)(b), the commissioner, on behalf of the Board, shall appoint a receiver for the district pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K(a).
(b) The receiver shall have the powers provided to the receiver by M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K, including all of the powers of the superintendent and school committee and full managerial and operational control over the district, provided that the district shall remain the employer of record for all other purposes, and provided further that the commissioner may define the scope of the receiver's powers up to those set forth in M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K, based on conditions in the district or its schools. The commissioner may from time to time modify the scope of the receiver's powers based on conditions in the district or its schools.
(4) Replacement of receiver for a district in Level 5 If the commissioner terminates the receiver for a district in Level 5 pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K(h), the commissioner shall appoint another receiver for the district in accordance with M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K(a) and 603 CMR 2.06(3)(b).
(5) Receiver for a school in Level 5
(a) A receiver appointed by the commissioner for a school in Level 5 pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, s. 1J(r), shall have all of the powers that the superintendent previously had over the school and all of the powers granted to a receiver for a Level 5 school by M.G.L. c. 69, s. 1J. The receiver shall report directly to the commissioner.
(b) If the commissioner terminates the receiver for a school in Level 5 pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(v), the commissioner may appoint another receiver for the school in accordance with M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(r) and 603 CMR 2.06(5)(a).
(6) Turnaround plans for Level 5 schools The turnaround plan developed for each school placed in Level 5 shall
(a) be authorized, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(t), for a period of up to three years;
(b) fulfill the other requirements of M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J;
(c) provide for the implementation of the conditions for school effectiveness in 603 CMR 2.03(4)(b);
(d) 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;
(e) include descriptions of the assistance to be provided by the Department in support of the action steps in the plan, subject to the availability of resources for the Department to provide the assistance; and
(f) be prepared on a format developed by the Department.
(7) Turnaround plans for Level 5 districts The turnaround plan developed for each district placed in Level 5 shall:
(a) focus, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, §1K(b), on any Level 5 school or schools in the district and, using the most recent district review report as a guide, on any district policies or practices that have contributed to the placement of the school or schools or district in Level 5, including but not limited to district systems for school support and intervention;
(b) be authorized, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K(f), for a period of up to three years;
(c) fulfill the other requirements of M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K;
(d) if the district has any Level 4 or Level 5 schools, provide for the implementation in the district of the systems and processes necessary to bring about the conditions for school effectiveness in 603 CMR 2.03(4)(b), including, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K, new turnaround plans for any Level 4 or 5 school for which the turnaround plans are deemed inadequate by the receiver.
(e) include, for the district: benchmarks by which to measure progress toward the annual goals included in the plan pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K, and a timetable for achieving those benchmarks;
(f) describe the assistance to be provided by the Department in support of the action steps in the plan, subject to the availability of the resources for the Department to provide the assistance; and
(g) be prepared on a format developed by the Department.
(8) Quarterly reports for Level 5 schools and districts
(a) Quarterly reports for Level 5 schools, including the review by the commissioner to be submitted at least annually to the superintendent and the school committee, shall be submitted pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(u) and (v) on a format developed by the Department.
(b) Quarterly reports for Level 5 districts, including the evaluation by the commissioner to be submitted at least annually to the Board and the school committee, shall submitted pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K(g) and (h) on a format developed by the Department.
(9) Reports to the Board The commissioner shall report regularly to the Board on the progress made by each district and school in Level 5.
(10) Removal of school from Level 5
(a) The commissioner shall define for each Level 5 school the academic and other progress that it must make for it to be removed from Level 5. 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. 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 5, defining it as any or all of the progress in 603 CMR 2.06(10)(a)1 and 2, or any other progress the commissioner determines appropriate.
(c) The commissioner shall remove a school from Level 5 when, at any time, the commissioner determines, based on evidence that may include a report from the accountability monitor appointed pursuant to 603 CMR 2.05(4)(b), from the school's or district's receiver, if any, from a district review, or from a follow-up review, that:
  1. the school has achieved the academic and other progress defined by the commissioner under 603 CMR 2.06(10)(a) and (b) as necessary to allow it to be removed from Level 5; 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 5.
(d) At the expiration of the turnaround plan, in conducting a review of the school pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J(w), the commissioner shall consider whether the conditions described in 603 CMR 2.06(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 5.
(11) Effect of removal of school from Level 5; transitional period
(a) Upon the commissioner's removal of a school from Level 5, the provisions of M.G.L. c. 69, § 1J, for schools designated as chronically 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 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(o), in contravention of any general or special law to the contrary shall be discontinued unless the commissioner determined before removing the school from Level 5 that such feature of the turnaround plan would contribute to the continued improvement of the school and should continue for a transitional period after the removal. The commissioner may allow more than one such feature of the turnaround plan to continue.
(c) Upon making a determination pursuant to 603 CMR 2.06(11)(b) 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 2.06(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 5 shall cease.
(e) Two years after the removal of the school from Level 5, 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) Termination of receivership and removal of district from Level 5
(a)The commissioner shall define for each Level 5 district the academic and other progress that it must make for it to be removed from Level 5. 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. a higher graduation rate; and
    4. a measure of postsecondary success, once the Department identifies one that is sufficiently reliable, valid, and timely;
  2. the implementation of district systems and practices that meet district standards established under 603 CMR 2.03(4); and
  3. progress in implementing in the district's schools the conditions for school effectiveness described in 603 CMR 2.03(4)(b).
(b) The commissioner, in defining the required progress for the district, shall customize it to the particular reasons the district was placed in Level 5, defining it as any or all of the progress in 603 CMR 2.06(12)(a)1 through 3, or any other progress the commissioner determines appropriate.
(c) The commissioner shall terminate the receivership and remove the district from Level 5 when, at any time, the commissioner determines, based on evidence that may include a report from the district's receiver or a follow-up review, that
  1. the district has achieved the academic and other progress defined by the commissioner under 603 CMR 2.06(12)(a) and (b) as necessary to allow it to be removed from Level 5; and
  2. the district has the capacity to continue making progress without the accountability and assistance provided by Level 5.
(d) At the expiration of the turnaround plan, in reevaluating the district's Level 5 status pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K(i), the commissioner shall consider whether the conditions described in 603 CMR 2.06(12)(c)1 and 2 exist. If the commissioner determines that both of these conditions exist, he or she shall terminate the receivership and remove the district from Level 5.
(13) Effect of removal of district from Level 5; transitional period
(a) Upon the commissioner's removal of a district from Level 5, the provisions of M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K, for districts designated as chronically underperforming shall no longer apply to it and the employment of the receiver shall end.
(b) The district may continue to use the turnaround plan in order to continue to improve students' academic 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, § 1K(d), in contravention of any general or special law to the contrary shall be discontinued unless the commissioner determined, before removing the district from Level 5, that such feature of the turnaround plan would contribute to the continued improvement of the district and should continue for a transitional period after the removal. The commissioner may allow more than one such feature of the turnaround plan to continue.
(c) Upon making a determination pursuant to 603 CMR 2.06(13)(b) that such feature or features of the turnaround plan should continue, the commissioner shall define the progress that the district 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 district review or a follow-up review, that the district has made the progress defined under 603 CMR 2.06(13)(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 district under M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K, that did not cease on removal of the district from Level 5 shall cease.
(e) Two years after the removal of the district from Level 5, if any of the continuing features of the turnaround plan has yet to be discontinued, the commissioner shall conduct a review of the district to determine whether such continuing feature or features should remain in place or be discontinued.
(14) Petition by school committee of a Level 5 district
(a) When the school committee of a Level 5 district petitions the commissioner, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 69, § 1K (i), for either modification of the turnaround plan or elimination of the turnaround plan and termination of the receivership, the commissioner shall decide the petition after considering the following:
  1. written arguments and supporting documentation submitted with the petition by the school committee;
  2. written arguments and supporting documentation submitted in response to the petition by the receiver; and
  3. the report of any follow-up review conducted since the district was placed in Level 5.
(b) If no follow-up review has been conducted within the last year before the commissioner's receipt of the petition and the commissioner determines that such a review would be useful in deciding on the petition, the commissioner may cause one to be conducted and delay the decision on the petition until 30 days after receiving the follow-up review report, provided that a decision on the petition shall be made within four months of the commissioner's receipt of the petition.
(c) Within 30 days of receiving the commissioner's decision, the school committee may appeal an adverse decision to the Board. The Board shall consider the evidence described in 603 CMR 2.06(14)(a)1 through 3 and may consider other evidence from the school committee, receiver, and commissioner. The decision of the Board shall be made within 60 days of receiving the appeal and shall be final.
(d) Neither the process before the commissioner nor the process before the Board shall be an adjudicatory hearing.
(e) No petition for the elimination of the turnaround plan and termination of the receivership shall be granted unless the commissioner or, in the case of an appeal, the Board determines
  1. that the district has achieved the progress defined by the commissioner under 603 CMR 2.06(12)(a) as necessary to allow the district to be removed from Level 5 or that the district has achieved other, comparable or superior progress; and
  2. that the district has the capacity to continue making progress without the accountability and assistance provided by Level 5.
(f) Upon a decision by the commissioner or the Board granting a petition for the elimination of the turnaround plan and termination of the receivership, the receivership shall be terminated and the district removed from Level 5.

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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