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Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education - page 6 / 10

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significant, and co-pilots address that. Mr. Anderson said we need to look for tangible- impact solutions. Chairman Reville said he is sympathetic to much of what Mr. Anderson said

Board member Jeff Howard asked whether the focus should be on districts or on schools. Chairman Reville noted that at the last few meetings, the Board looked at districts that were very small and had limited capacity. But if the Department works directly with individual schools, quickly its capacity and resources will be spread too thin. Dr. Howard asked who designates schools as co-pilots. Ms. Dow said that union and district leadership must agree for it to happen, and then the school faculty must vote.

Board member Dana Mohler-Faria asked about results in the schools that have gone through the improvement planning process. Ms. Dow said the Department saw immediate improvement in almost all of the schools, followed by a flattening out in the 2nd and 3 years. Progress was incremental, and gains were modest. rd

Ms. Dow said that between 2000 and 2006, 8 out of 50 schools exited underperforming status. Dr. Mohler-Faria asked about the characteristics of the 8 schools that exited. Ms. Dow said they included strong leadership, changes in instructional practices and use of time, district leadership that worked closely with school leadership to change the faculty composition, and additional resources for training and coaching placed by the districts once the schools were identified as underperforming. Dr. Mohler-Faria expressed concern that only 16 percent of schools exited underperforming status between 2000 and 2006, which he said raises questions about the effectiveness of the process. Ms. Dow said that is why the Board made changes to the system in 2006, because prior to that time there were too few resources to help districts and schools tackle the problem. She said that only in the past 2 years has there been additional state and federal funding for targeted assistance. The Department has also helped larger districts put in place good instructional oversight systems.

Board member Sandra Stotsky commented that teacher mobility might mean that the use of coaches and professional development are wasted. Dr. Stotsky asked how many people were on the State Review Panel, and whether there would be an opportunity to review what the panelists learned. Ms. Dow referred Dr. Stotsky to Attachment D in the Board materials for a list of the names of the panelists. Ms. Dow also said there would be a gathering of the review panel shortly to evaluate the process. Ms. Dow said that turnover in school faculty is a significant factor, and that for the first time this year, the Department’s new Education Personnel Information Management System (EPIMS) would provide information on educators statewide, including who is teaching and how long they have been licensed.

Board member Chernow said that recruiting and retaining good teachers at these schools is a bigger problem than removing teachers. Ms. Chernow said that districts’ answers were uneven relative to perceived barriers in staffing and principal autonomy. She said the story on paper does not necessarily reflect what she has heard from parents, teachers, and others at schools she has visited. Ms. Chernow said she would like to know more

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