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ERIC Number: ED498857
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Dec
Pages: 110
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Charting a New Course for the Richmond Public Schools. Report of the Strategic Support Teams of the Council of the Great City Schools
Council of the Great City Schools
The Council of the Great City Schools prepared this report to summarize findings and recommendations that the organization's Strategic Support Teams made during visits to the Richmond Public Schools in the Fall 2003. These teams were requested by the Richmond schools' superintendent and funded by the U.S. Department of Education to review school district efforts to improve student performance and propose ways to accelerate it. The Council also reviewed the district's federal programs to ensure alignment with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and assessed the district's special education operations. Although gains have been made, challenges facing the school district remain significant. They are shared by many urban public school systems across the country: low student achievement, high poverty rates, disparate funding, high dropout rates, and fragile public support. The biggest challenge facing the Richmond Public Schools involves the system's ability to pull together and raise student achievement: the district has a significantly fractured program to boost student performance, the legacy of too many initiatives piled on top of one another over too many years, resulting in a slower pace of academic improvement than the public wants and students require. Proposals to the Richmond Public Schools cover three areas: curriculum and instruction, federal programs, and special education. Recommendations for Curriculum and Instruction include: (1) Develop a coherent vision for what the school system wants to achieve; (2) Set measurable goals for academic improvement; (3) Establish a new accountability system for attaining academic goals; (4) Standardize instructional strategies and curriculum; (5) Provide professional development on the implementation of the new curriculum; (6) Implement reforms at the classroom level; (7) Use data to monitor progress and determine instructional interventions; (8) Incorporate literacy reforms into the preschool program and extend them, grade-by-grade, through the high schools; and (9) Focus on the district's lowest performing schools. To meet requirements of Title I and other Federal Programs, the teams recommend: (1) Meshing NCLB's adequate yearly progress goals with those proposed for the district and individual schools; (2) Giving principals greater latitude in expenditure of Title I funds, targeting use around a small set of instructional priorities; (3) Continuing to blend the district's open-enrollment program with NCLB's choice requirements; (4) Requiring that supplemental service providers align their programs with the district's new reading and math initiatives; (5) Redeployment of Title I parent set-aside funds to school-based activities; (6) Linking tuition reimbursement to NCLB's highly qualified teacher requirements; (7) Revision of the Title I allocation system for uniformity and fairness; and (8) Using a grade span allocation system to target Title I funds on elementary and middle schools for greater effectiveness. To meet the requirements of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), operate more smoothly, and address the issue of over-identifying students for special education, the following eight recommendations are offered: (1) Explicitly addressing special education students in the new strategy for improving student achievement; (2) Establishing clear and objective criteria for placing students in special education; (3) Continuing to encourage placement of students in the least restrictive environment and collecting better data, consistent with federal requirements, on how this is being done; (4) Sharpening professional development to include strategies to help both general and special education teachers handle identified disabilities and behaviors; (5) Reorganization of the Exceptional Education department; (6) Placing greater focus on instructional strategies for special education and relatively less focus on compliance; (7) Boosting school-level capacity to conduct manifestation determinations; and (8) Preparation of a district-wide special education policy and procedures manual. The Council of the Great City Schools hopes that this report will help focus the district further on student achievement and accelerate incremental gains that have started over the past two years.(Contains 32 footnotes, 2 figures, 6 graphs and 2 tables. Appended are: (1) Benchmarking Richmond; (2) Individuals Interviewed; (3) Documents Reviewed; (4) Biographical Sketches of Strategic Support Team; and (5) About the Council.)
Council of the Great City Schools. 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 702, Washington, DC 20004. Tel: 202-393-2427; Fax: 202-393-2400; Web site: http://www.cgcs.org
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 3; Grade 5; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council of the Great City Schools, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001