State board to consider review of city schools

Published 11:07 am Saturday, September 21, 2013

RICHMOND—The Virginia Board of Education will have its first read on placing the Franklin City Public Schools under a division-level review at its regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Action on the item is anticipated to take place at a regular meeting on Thursday, Oct. 24.

The purpose of placing the school division under review status is to ensure the district is meeting the VBOE’s goal of guaranteeing accountability for student learning.

The VBOE may require such a review, if it has obtained evidence that the failure of schools within a division to achieve full accreditation is related to division-level failure to implement the Standards of Quality.

Other criteria for conducting a division-level academic review include the division not meeting federal benchmarks (Annual Measurable Objectives), and having more students attending warned schools than the statewide average. All three Franklin schools have been accredited with warning for two consecutive years, and have federal sanctions due to not meeting the AMOs.

Evidence of the division-level failure to implement the SOQ was determined in a letter sent to the school board and superintendent in the Virginia Department of Education’s school-level academic review.

The purpose of the school-level academic review, which happened this past year, is to help schools identify and analyze instructional and organizational factors affecting achievement. It focuses on systems, processes and practices that are being implemented at the school and division levels.

The superintendent of public education recommends the VBOE accept for first read the proposal to require Franklin City Public Schools to undergo a division-level academic review.

If that’s ordered, the division will gather data to determine whether the local school board is meeting SOQ responsibilities; provide the local school board with essential actions on which they will base goals and strategies for correcting areas of noncompliance with the SOQ and for improving educational performance; and to monitor, enforce and report on the local school board’s development and implementation of the required corrective action plan.

In doing this, teams of educators trained and experienced in the process will conduct initial visits, onsite reviews and follow-up visits. During these visits, the teams hold introductory meetings with local school boards, conduct interviews, review documents and self-studies, and observe operational practices. Teams collect and analyze data, and these data are used to prepare a series of reports. In this process, the Franklin school board would take action to accept the memorandum of agreement.

Reports made from this are given to the superintendent and school board and are to be made public. Findings from these reviews will be reported quarterly, and conclusions related to issues of noncompliance will be reported more frequently.

Any division not implementing essential actions, not correcting areas of noncompliance, or failing to develop, submit and implement required plans and status reports will be required to report its lack of action directly to the board of education.

Areas that continue to go uncorrected will bee reported to the governor and general assembly on the condition of needs of public schools in Virginia. The board of education will take additional actions, including petitioning the circuit court to mandate or otherwise enforce compliance with the standards.