June 14, 2010
DCPS Begins 2010-2011 Federally Mandated School Improvement Process
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WASHINGTON, DC – District of Columbia Public Schools’ (DCPS)
mission is to ensure that every student in the system attends a great
school, and that every school meets high standards in all areas that
affect student achievement. When schools consistently underperform over a
period of time--in addition to the on-going efforts--DCPS is required
by federal law to take drastic action to improve the schools. This year,
to meet the federal requirements, DCPS will reconstitute six schools,
and one school will also gain an external partner.
"It's critical that we continue to improve our supports of struggling
schools. Every neighborhood school should be a place where students can
receive a high quality education," said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “And when
schools do not meet these standards, we will work together and take
Reconstitution requires most staff and teachers to reapply for their
current positions through an interview process with the school
administration. As part of the U.S. Department of Education's tiered
intervention approach, reconstitution allows strong school leaders to
choose staff members who are committed to the academic initiatives and
priorities of the school and who are both highly qualified and
effective. Students benefit immensely when every classroom has an
excellent teacher, and schools function better when their instructional
staff is fully invested in the principal’s academic vision.
DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee said, “At DCPS we know that all children
can achieve at high levels. Reconstitution is just one tool offered by
the federal government for districts to use to equip schools with the
necessary composition to meet high standards and to prioritize student
Another option in the tiered intervention approach is to partner with
an external organization to run a school. DCPS currently has two
partnerships that began in SY2009-2010: Friends of Bedford at Dunbar
Senior High School and Coolidge Senior High School, and Friendship
Public Schools, at Anacostia Senior High School. All three schools have
significantly improved their school culture, including growth in
important indicators such as attendance and school safety.
Next year, DCPS will also partner with a new external organization,
Philadelphia-based Scholar Academies to run Stanton Elementary School.
Scholar Academies has a strong track record of achieving high levels of
student learning with previously underserved students, from similar
The new partner participated in a rigorous application process that
included a comprehensive proposal for turning around a DCPS elementary
school, a panel presentation, and a DCPS site visit to Philadelphia.
After Scholar Academies was identified as a strong turnaround partner,
DCPS conducted an internal analysis to identify a DCPS school where
Scholar Academies could be most effective.
One of the most important pieces of reconstitution is that it
provides faculty and staff with options. If staff members choose not to
reapply or are not rehired, they join an excess staff pool. DCPS Office
of Human Resources will provide them with vacancy lists, transfer fairs,
the assistance of staffing specialists and other supports. School
leaders expect to conclude the interview process by June 17.
The reconstitution will be effective after the last day of school on
June 22. These changes will not affect the rest of the current school
year. DCPS will issue a Connect ED, an automated call system, this
evening to notify parents at all six schools via phone, and a letter
will go home with students.
DCPS will hold the first transfer fair on Saturday, June 19, at School Without Walls.