|Laura Kelley, Ed.D.
Director of School Reform
258 East Adams Street
Office of Shared Accountability
Syracuse, New York 13202
The goal of the Office of School Reform is to monitor school improvement at all sites. This must be accomplished by working collaboratively with US Department of Education officials, New York State Education Department representatives, staff in SCSD departments and each site's School Leadership Team (SLT). Furthermore, federal, state and local reviews to determine school progress are coordinated by the Office of School Reform.
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has revised its public school accountability system and structure, as a result of an approved waiver of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act. Based on trend data for ELA, mathematics and graduation rates, Districts and schools are identified as REWARD, IN GOOD STANDING, FOCUS, or PRIORITY. Whereas Reward & In Good Standing schools respectively exceed or meet the adequate yearly progress (growth) expected, Priority & Focus schools are respectively furthest away from meeting this criteria. An analysis and evaluation of programming, as well as planning around efforts to improve are key elements of the school reform and improvement process. Additionally, all stakeholders should and must be engaged in monitoring the implementation of such plans. To find additional information on the NYSED accountability system, go to http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/reports.html.
In the Syracuse City School District there is a District Comprehensive Improvement Plan, School Comprehensive Education Plans, Whole School Reform Plans and School Review Reports. Each of these plans are designed to facilitate school improvement in all areas of our work. The plans and school review reports will be available online as they are completed.
School Comprehensive Education Plans
Whole School Reform Plans
In 2009, the New York State Education Board or Regents adopted measures aimed at revising its accountability system for public schools. This new differentiated accountability system identified low performing schools as Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) rather than the previous Schools under Registration Review. Identification was based on student achievement results from state assessments and/or graduation rates over time. Districts determined which of four federal models would be used in PLA schools: Transformation, Turnaround, ReStart or School Closure. To find out more about the four federal models, go to:
Schools designated as Persistently Low Achieving were eligible to apply for funds to support whole school reform planning and implementation over a three year period. In Syracuse, Delaware Academy, Fowler High School and Hughes PreK-8 were identified to begin whole school reform in 2010-11. These schools were followed by Corcoran High School, Grant Middle School, Henninger High School and Nottingham High School in 2011-12. All seven schools are utilizing the Transformation Model. The implementation of the plans is monitored by the School Leadership Team at each building, the District’s Office of School Reform and the State Education Department.
School Review Process
In July 2012, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) identified the Syracuse City Schools as a Focus District, based on trend data from English language arts and mathematics state assessment results and graduation rates. Additionally, nineteen schools have been designated as priority and eleven schools have been designated as focus. As part of NYSED’s accountability structure and system, focus districts and priority & focus schools will be analyzed, evaluated and rated annually. The Diagnostic Tool for School & District Effectiveness is a rubric which will be used in the review process. The rubric for schools focuses on five tenets: School Leader Practices & Decisions, Curriculum Development & Support, Teacher Practices & Decisions, Student Social-Emotional Developmental Health, and Family & Community Engagement. Evidences are analyzed in accordance with these tenets to help determine a school or district’s status and identify ways in which to improve.
A school review is conducted by a team, led by a State Education Department staff member, an Outside Educational Expert and a District staff member. Other members of the team include Special Education and English language learner staff members. School reviews include, but are not limited to, analyzing data & artifacts, observing instruction & meetings, and interviewing various stakeholders. School review reports must be calibrated to assure their alignment with the rubric and evidences. Additionally, school review reports with ratings must be communicated and posted at the NYSED and district & school level.