Delaware Partnership Zone Schools Announced
Today, Lillian Lowery, Secretary of Education, announced that Stubbs Elementary, Positive Outcomes Charter School, Howard High School and Glasgow High School were chosen to join Delaware’s innovative Partnership Zone Initiative (PZI).
Delaware is part of a multi-state effort led by Mass Insight’s School Turnaround Group, which includes New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado, and Louisiana, to implement sustainable and scalable strategies for turning around clusters of persistently low-performing schools. This approach, which received high marks in our winning Race to the Top and School Improvement Grant applications, requires schools to implement one of three federal school turnaround models, including restart, transformation, and turnaround. Schools will receive upwards of $2.2 million (from RttT, SIG, and private funds) in exchange for meeting higher accountability and increased student and teacher expectations. These funds will be used to incorporate best practices in school staffing, professional development, and curriculum and instruction.
Schools were chosen based upon three criteria outlined by the Delaware Department of Education including being classified as “Under Improvement” for lack of educational progress, not meeting academic targets for at least two consecutive years, and other qualitative measures determined by Secretary Lowery in consultation with the State Board of Education, Chief School Officers Association, and Delaware State Education Association. Schools chosen for participation in the PZI initiative include:
Stubbs Elementary (East Side of Wilmington): Stubbs had the worst reading and mathematics 2010 DSTP scores of elementary schools throughout the state with the percent of students demonstrating proficiency at 44 and 52 percent, respectively. These scores, which have seen significant declines since 2007, demonstrate significant need for additional resources to help students achieve on par with other Delaware students.
Positive Outcomes Charter School (Camden, Delaware): Positive Outcomes serves predominately special needs students from Kent County. 36 and 30 percent of students demonstrated proficiency on the statewide DSTP reading and mathematics assessment, respectively. The reading scores have been in decline the past two years while math scores have fluctuated over the course of the last four years.
Howard High School (East Side of Wilmington): Howard High School serves students throughout New Castle County while offering 14 vocational-academic programs including law, business, nursing, dental and public service. Campus reading scores (53 percent proficient) have declined for four straight years while mathematics scores (44 percent proficient) remain significantly below state averages.
Glasgow High School (Newark, Delaware): Glasgow has consistently scored near the bottom statewide in both reading and mathematics. In 2010, 43 and 32 percent of students demonstrated proficiency on the statewide DSTP assessment, respectively.
The announcement is only the beginning; the next step for these schools is to engage in a rigorous bargaining process in which school and district officials must address how they will strengthen and implement better – and often more difficult –policies to ensure that students are getting the best education possible. This process must meet the rigorous expectations outlined by Secretary Lowery and must be completed by December, so planning and implementation can begin in 2011.