2013-2014 Expanded Learning Time Back-to-School Update
Superintendents, Principals, Grant Contacts for Expanded Learning Time Schools
Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner
Ruth Hersh, Policy Coordinator
Moira Connolly, Education Specialist for Expanded Learning Time
September 27, 2013
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign is committed to supporting and overseeing the creation and sustainability of a variety of high quality public school options to ensure that all students in the Commonwealth have equitable access to a pathway to success after high school.
The Expanded Learning Time (ELT) initiative (Fund Code 225) is a key part of our school redesign work to support this mission. Funding and sustaining high-quality expanded learning time remains a key challenge. In particular this year, with respect to ELT, the Department is focused on identifying ways that we can support the sustainability of high quality expanded learning time. This work will be done in conjunction with practitioners in the field and the TIME Collaborative, a partnership with the National Center on Time and Learning (Mass2020). We are pleased to announce the addition of Kathy Cross, TIME Collaborative Specialist, to our Redesign team to support this work.
This memo provides an overview of the ELT support and oversight activities that the Department will conduct this year, including refinements to implementation expectations and adjustments to site visit protocol for this school year.
Professional Development Plan - Due October 1, 2013
As indicated in the FY14 reapplication, we are requiring a copy of your professional development plan / calendar for the 2013-2014 academic year. You are welcome to use any clear and comprehensive format you prefer, but if you would like a template provided to you, please contact Moira Connolly. This calendar is due no later than October 1, 2013. Please see below for the guidelines communicated in the FY14 reapplication:
Professional Development Plan: In order to receive timely full fiscal year funding, districts/schools must provide a plan for professional development activities that are scheduled to occur in FY14 at each ELT school for which the district is applying. The Department anticipates providing a template form later this summer for districts to consider; however, districts/schools are free to use any format that best outlines and describes their anticipated professional development activities. Because districts/schools may not have this information available at the time of this reapplication, this plan must be submitted to the Department no later than Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Continuation ELT funding is contingent on submission of all required information. This document may be submitted by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Signed Memorandum of Understandings with Unions - Due October 1, 2013
An additional reapplication requirement that is not new is the submission of a copy of your signed side letter or memorandum of understanding (MOU) with your union which outlines the terms of the agreement of teachers to work the additional time required in your ELT school. At the time of reapplication, however, many of you were still in contract negotiations and unable to submit this required document. For this reason, we are extending the deadline for submitting your MOU or side letter to October 1, 2013. You may send a copy in with your professional development plan or under separate heading. Please contact us immediately if this deadline presents a problem for you.
Unexpended Funds - Close Monitoring Required
As you begin this academic year, please be reminded that funding is subject to annual budget appropriation, which means there is always the possibility that the legislature will terminate ELT funding or cut a portion of the funding. Should that happen, schools and districts would need to either discontinue ELT, as it would no longer be funded by the state, or determine how to sustain the program with local resources. For this reason it is imperative that all funds allocated to districts/schools be expended completely in order to demonstrate the need for, at minimum, level funding. Failure to expend all ELT funds allocated puts the entire program at risk and makes it difficult to advocate for funding in the future. Given the economic climate, schools receiving this performance-based grant need to be strategic and meticulous in spending. Should you realize that you will not be spending your entire allocation by or before June 30, 2014, you are expected to notify us immediately and well before the end of the school year. Periodically, we will be contacting you to determine the potential of returns. At that point, you should develop a plan to spend down your grant funding, whether by amending your budget and reallocating funds to another budget line, or by reallocating funds for summer activities with Department approval. If we have conducted this process and funds are still not expended and thus returned, the amount will likely factor negatively into your allocation for the next fiscal year, particularly if the line item is reduced. Funds cannot be carried over into the next fiscal year. If you need to amend your budget, please contact Moira Connolly immediately and she will send an amendment-ready workbook to you and guide you through the process.
ELT Site Visits and Revised Protocol
As you may be aware, we are preparing to conduct full ELT Site Visits to Cohort I and Cohort IV schools. Site visits are one of the means by which the Department documents each ELT school's performance and progress over time, corroborating and augmenting the information reported each year in the school's reapplication within the context of the ELT Performance Agreement process. Equally as important, the visits enhance the Department's understanding of ELT program strengths and challenges, and provide an opportunity to offer feedback to schools as well as inform statewide technical assistance efforts.
Many of you have participated as peer reviewers on ELT site visit teams in the past, and your insights as practitioners are invaluable. If you are interested in participating as a member of an ELT site visit team as a peer reviewer in this or future years (PDP points are available), please contact Moira Connolly for more information.
This year also represents a shift in site visit monitoring for ELT in Massachusetts. Begun in 2006, the initiative is now a mature program, the results of which are under increased evaluation at the state level. Both the executive and legislative branches of state government have a heightened interest in the outcomes and sustainability of ELT in Massachusetts. One of the reasons our current site visit protocol is being revised is to better determine the quality of ELT implementation, replacing an account of how ELT is being implemented. In approaching this shift, we have also found it necessary to revise the "Expectations for Implementation" , a document with which you are all familiar as it has guided your work and is contained in the reapplication each year. We have worked closely with Mass 2020 to clearly articulate expectations in the revised "Expectations for Implementation" to better reflect a more mature program and we will provide the final document to you as soon as possible. Additionally, in early October, we will also provide you with a copy of the revised protocol and revised site visit report template for your feedback.
Please note that we also plan to conduct Check-In Visits to some schools this year as well. These half-day check-in meetings are designed to gather some observational and qualitative evidence regarding the schools' implementation of their ELT School Redesign Plans. We will be in contact with individual schools and districts about the scheduling of these visits in the coming weeks.
ELT Performance Agreements - Redrafting Required for Schools in Cohort III
All ELT schools receiving grant funding through Fund Code 225 will be drafting/redrafting ELT Performance Agreements either this year or in the coming years. Because these are three-year agreements which inform funding decisions and are one of the means by which the Department monitors progress, the tool itself should clearly track progress toward meeting goals. Additionally, we want to ensure that the goals set forth in these agreements align with the Department's new Accountability System.
In response to the thoughtful input from many of you last year, we have drafted improvements to the ELT Performance Agreement template and Cohort II schools have put it into effect. It is our hope that these template improvements will further focus your efforts to accelerate student achievement and meet your school wide goals, as well as drive a culture of teacher leadership and student engagement. Please note the following:
- New Performance Agreements will be valid for three years. Continuation funding during the Performance Agreement period is subject to annual appropriations.
- Progress toward meeting performance measures will be monitored each year.
- At the end of the third year of implementation of the new ELT Performance Agreement, a determination will be made regarding funding for the next ELT term. This determination will be made based on student performance data, qualitative evidence of high quality ELT implementation primarily gathered via site visits, and success in meeting the measures within your ELT Performance Agreement.
This fall, the Department is in the process of evaluating "return on investment" and finalizing funding continuation decisions for Cohort III schools, who received full site visits last year. Cohort III schools are required to execute new ELT Performance Agreements this year. If you are not scheduled to execute a new Performance Agreement this year, but would like to transition your current performance agreement to the new template, please be sure to participate in the webinar. We will be conducting a technical assistance webinar on the new Performance Agreement format on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. Please register.
Please see the following schedule of Performance Agreement draft submission and revision due dates:
- Thursday, October 17, 2013 - Technical Assistance Webinar for all ELT schools
- Friday, November 8, 2013 - First draft of Performance Agreement
- Friday, January 10, 2014 - Final signed Performance Agreement due and submitted to the Department.
When ELT first began in Massachusetts, it was based on the premise that if the state provided implementation funding to the schools and districts with the highest quality school redesign proposals, then these schools would accelerate student achievement and deepen student engagement to provide a better, more well-rounded education. If any given school did not achieve improved student outcomes or implementation did not go as described in its implementation proposal, the state would not continue to invest to support implementation. This year, Cohort I schools are concluding their second Performance Agreement period. After a full site visit this spring, the Department will meet with district and school leaders to provide preliminary feedback on the potential for continuation of ELT funding beyond FY14. After the end of the 2013-2014 school year, after a full review of ELT implementation and performance data since the inception of the initiative, the Department will make a final determination about which Cohort I schools will continue to receive state funding for ELT. Should the decision be made to discontinue ELT funding at your school, every effort will be made to provide funding in FY15 for transition support as resources allow, but funding will not continue beyond FY15.
Technical Assistance Sessions
For those of you planning to participate in Mass 2020's technical assistance sessions, the first leadership session is scheduled for October 8, 2013. Those schools and districts that have signed up to participate in this year's technical assistance have already received an email with registration information for this session. If you plan to attend the session but did not receive this email, please contact Shaunda Lewis at Mass 2020 at email@example.com. Please note that there is an assignment outlined in the link with regard to good news, urgent messages, and prioritizing select performance agreement goals.
There is the possibility of space available at additional Department sponsored trainings through our Office of Learning Supports and Early Learning (OLSEL). We will notify you of any opportunities that arise as they become available.
As always, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at:
2013-2014 Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time Schools (19 schools)
|ELT School||District||Cohort||First Year of ELT||Current Performance|
|Full Site Visit |
|Boston Arts Academy||Boston||II||2007-2008||2012-2015|| |
|Browne Middle||Chelsea||III||2008-2009||2010-2013|| |
|Kuss Middle||Fall River||I||2006-2007||2011-2014||YES|
|North End (Silvia)||Fall River||II||2007-2008||2012-2015|| |
|Viveiros Elementary||Fall River||III||2008-2009||2010-2013|| |
|Longsjo Middle||Fitchburg||III||2008-2009||2010-2013|| |
|Greenfield Middle||Greenfield||II||2007-2008||2012-2015|| |
|Newton Elementary||Greenfield||II||2007-2008||2012-2015|| |
|AC Whelan||Revere||III||2008-2009||2010-2013|| |
|Garfield Middle||Revere||III||2008-2009||2010-2013|| |
|City View||Worcester||II||2007-2008||2012-2015|| |