Partnership Zone Schools Update

September 28th, 2011

Category: News

28 days have passed since the six round two Partnership Zone schools were announced (for more on the Partnership Zone, see earlier posts), and districts are moving full speed ahead, each taking a different approach to the planning and community engagement process.

Red Clay chose “transformation” for its schools (Lewis, Marbrook, and Stanton) during its first  board meeting. This was the first public opportunity to discuss the PZ and the options available. Several community voices—including the Hispanic community and teachers’ union— were present at the meeting, but little public discussion (and no formal presentation) occurred before the vote, which one board member noted felt rushed.

Capital voted to approve the transformation model for Dover HS after two meetings. During its regular meeting the board (and public) saw presentations on the models, listened to public comments, and had a discussion before setting a second meeting to all time for the school-based planning team to convene, research, and put together a formal recommendation. The second meeting, which involved about 50 parents, teachers, and community members, gave all parties an opportunity for further public comment before the board ultimately accepted the recommendation of the planning team.

Christina is holding a number of meetings and has not determined the models for Bayard and Bancroft. At the board meeting, members encouraged the district and state to learn from the lessons of their round one PZ schools. A week later, Superintendent Lyles hosted the first of a series of PZ community forums and not only presented the models to the community but asked for comments, questions, and feedback. The board will likely make a decision at its next board meeting on Oct. 11.

While choosing a model is critical, it is important to note that it is just the first step. No matter what model is chosen, plans need to be clear, and districts need to ensure that capacity is available to execute the plans and the schools are staffed with teachers committed to the new model and planned changes. Given all the work to be done, districts should consider engaging lead partners and implementing proven school models.

While each district has had its own approach in seeking community involvement, it is up to parents, community members, taxpayers, and families to make their voices heard no matter what the district offers, particularly given the tight timeline (49 days to go). Meeting details can be found online for Red Clay and Christina (Capital has not yet determined a community meeting schedule).

Check back for more updates as they happen.

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Brian Yin



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