Mark David Richards
Council Period 12
Council Period 13
Council Period 14
Government and People
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Boards and Com
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Management Officer
Elections and Ethics
Housing and Community Dev.
Capital Revitalization Corp.
Planning and Econ. Dev.
Planning, Office of
Public Service Commission
Regional Mobility Panel
Sports and Entertainment Com.
University of DC
Water and Sewer Administration
Youth Rehabilitation Services
Issues in DC Politics
DC General, PBC
Public Benefit Corporation
Tax Rev Comm
Term limits repeal
Voting rights, statehood
Williams’s Fundraising Scandals
Cardozo Shaw Neigh.Assoc.
Committee of 100
Fed of Citizens Assocs
League of Women Voters
What Is DCWatch?
Context for Change:
History of the Targeted Assistance Program
The Targeted Assistance Program, Selection Criteria For
"Children First Schools," and Labor/Management Relations
During the 1996-97 school year, the District of
Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) embarked on a plan to identify and reform
its lowest performing schools. The "Targeted Assistance Program"
used aggregated student achievement scores on standardized tests to
appraise and categorize individual school performance. Schools that
produced a "negative achievement trend" over a three-year period
were "targeted" for assistance and became eligible to receive
substantial amounts of additional funds and resources. The targeting was
intended to increase each school's capacity to improve student performance
and focus added resources on school-based educational reform. Each
targeted school adopted one of seventeen nationally recognized
comprehensive school reform models, was assigned a fulltime instructional
facilitator (now called "change facilitator") to assist with the
model's implementation, received extra professional development and
literacy training, and participated in a summer literacy program. Those
schools with the most significant multi-year decline in performance
received $10,000 in additional funding and were provided consultative
services by the US Department of Education's Mid-Atlantic Regional
Educational Laboratory, also known as, "The Laboratory for Student
Success at Temple University." In subsequent years, targeted schools
received $36,000 in additional funding (in school year 1998 and/or 2000)
to support school-determined improvement programs.
Twenty-three elementary schools (two have since been
closed) were identified as "Targeted Assisted Schools" (TAS) and
were required to improve student performance by "no less than
10%" on the April 1998 administration of the SAT-9. Targeted schools
that failed to meet this goal were to be automatically considered for
closure and redesign, while those that made at least an 8% gain were to be
given, based on "extreme, extenuating circumstances," the
opportunity to remain intact for one additional year under
"corrective action status." Schools designated for this status
in 1998 have remained so designated since then and continue receiving the
additional resources and professional development originally earmarked for
them. No new schools were added to the TAS list in the 1998 school year;
32 schools at all levels (11 senior high schools, 10 middle/junior high
schools, and 11 elementary schools) were added to the TAS list in 1999. At
present, 52 schools have been identified for targeted assistance and only
one school has been "closed and redesigned" according to the
plan established in 1997.
Although the Targeted Assistance Program has remained
static for the past four years, the criteria for identifying schools
changed during school year 1098. Both are summarized below.
1996-97 Criteria. A three-level system was used to
identify the original 23 schools. Level I identified schools that
demonstrated poor student performance over a three-year period and were in
a continuous, annual, downward trend of decline. Level II identified
schools that demonstrated an inconsistent pattern of achievement over
three consecutive years that suggested significant risk of substantial
future decline. While these schools may have shown some improvement in a
given year, the trend in performance was uneven and not reflective of a
clear path to improvement. Level III were schools that demonstrated clear
evidence of academic improvement, yet overall academic performance was
still unacceptably low over the three-year period compared to other
schools in the school system.
1997-98 Criteria. In order to more accurately benchmark
student and school performance across all schools and to compare
performance against national norms, a different process was established in
1997-98. This converted all actual, or raw, student scores from the SAT-9
to the same scale and calculated the mean or average score, for each
school. These "normal curve equivalency" scores, or NCEs,
enabled DCPS to compare scores on a simple range from 1.0 to 99.0. This
also permitted the school system to compare performance across all schools
who took the SAT-9 anywhere in the nation. For example, a school with a
mean NCE score of 54.7 indicates that the school performed equal to or
better than 54.7 percent of all schools that took this same test
nationally. Higher NCE scores represent stronger overall performance on
the standardized test. In 1998, DCPS determined that all schools, at all
levels, with an average school-wide NCE score of 44.1 or less would be
eligible for targeted assistance.
2001-02 Selection Criteria for Low Performing Schools
While both measurement systems described above have
merit, I have accepted staffs recommendation to combine the strongest
elements of both approaches. In addition, I have asked staff to examine
other indicators of school effectiveness including attendance, tardiness,
suspension/expulsion rates, substantiated corporal punishment reports,
enrollment patterns, satisfaction rates, and budget and staffing
decisions. This establishes criteria for school identification that is
consonant with past practice, comprehensive in scope, and congruent with
generally accepted accountability practices across the nation's school
districts. In addition, I will add a new dimension that assesses schools
on their effectiveness in addressing student, parent and community needs.
This is especially important in view of the growing diversity across the
District of Columbia and my desire to build high performing learning
communities within all our schools. I will, nonetheless, conduct an
extensive review of these criteria to determine what standards will be
most appropriate for our future needs and most useful for the Board's
oversight responsibility. Before the spring of the next school year, I
will implement a new, multidimensional measurement system for school
effectiveness, support and transformation.
School Transformation and Labor/Management Relations
In November 1997, an agreement was reached between Ms.
Arlene Ackerman, chief academic officer/deputy superintendent, and Ms.
Barbara Bullock, president, Washington Teachers' Union. This agreement set
forth a process for determining how "reconstituted" schools that
were part of the TAS program would be staffed. I have reviewed this
agreement carefully and I will work collaboratively with Ms. Bullock to
assure that the contractual rights of WTU members are protected. Once
decisions are finalized, we will work closely with all union leadership to
assure that their collective memberships are treated fairly and within the
bounds of our signed contracts with all.
Business Plan for Strategic Reform
The complete Business Plan for Strategic Reform, which
will include all major strategic initiatives for the next three to five
years, will be ready for the Board's review in mid-June.