Thursday, July 7, 2011

no progress on 2011's schools in need of intervention

Something to keep an eye on as PPSD pushes forward toward the upcoming school year: on July 4, Go Local Prov reported that the Providence Public Schools are at an impasse with the Rhode Island Department of Education in regard to the four district schools identified as requiring intervention due to insufficient progress toward academic goals. The four schools, which RIDE identified on March 29 (PDF link to RIDE press release), are Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School, Hope Information Technology School, Mount Pleasant High School and Mary E. Fogarty Elementary School.

PPSD spokesperson Christina O'Reilly's statement in the Go Local Prov story indicates concern on the district's part about the way RIDE used federal guidelines to identify the schools. The district didn't submit the schools' plans within the 45 days required by RIDE, and there's been no subsequent progress, which raises huge questions for students and teachers returning to those schools next month.

For background, here's RIDE's statement on "persistently low-achieving schools," which identifies all of the schools that it designated in need of intervention last year and this. Those that the department identified last year have received $12.5 million (PDF link to RIDE press release) in federal School Improvement Grant funds for four Providence schools and Central Falls High School.

And for national perspective, look at Atlanta's test score cheating debacle and remember that standardized test scores--which are the mechanism that RIDE uses to choose which schools it designates as persistently low-achieving--are a highly imperfect way to make decisions that have such high stakes for students and their schools.

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