Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Board of Ed: Dorchester Collegiate Charter

Chester maintains his recommendation
"these are not recommendations that I bring very lightly at all to the Board"
at the end of the day, considering every thing that has been brought to my attention
"low performing charter school with high rates of attrition"
can find no evidence that student body is more high need than student body of BPS
have not seen any data to support that
if true "school has left substantial resources on the table, by not providing evidence of special education"
has failed to maintain a staff with substantial expertise in special education
"have little confidence that school has the leadership capacity" to place on path to continual improvement

Stewart: school is leaving money on the table?
school provided evidence that they met 9 of 10 (?) conditions
Chester: very low levels of special need students; special need students get an increment under foundation budget
staff and programs for kids
"there's no particular trigger that says that this school is under or over a line" for losing the charter
"the totality..it's a pretty flat trajectory"
Chuang: if you don't count ELL's in the October 1 count, you miss the tuition bump
it was the same status when putting school in this looking at more closing
McKinna: has to be some overlap in students
Chuang: have worked with school to try to tease this out
"it's been difficult to get clarity, from our perspective"
can't verify counseling
"only this fall that the rates start to exceed both charter and public district rates" of Boston
Noyce: how many charter schools have you closed?
state has closed 12 over history
Chuang: "it's difficult to say how students do...we don't track"
environment is very different now as to what happens when kids move
Board has changed how wait lists work:these kids have an equal shot in enrolling in Boston charters due to waitlists not rolling over
state does not permit weighed admission for charters
trying to make sure parents know how the process work and that they can submit applications as needed
"department's ability to assist" with helping with students
Superintendent Chang will be at meeting with Boston assistance
Morton: any services provided to the children with the adjustment
Stewart: 40.9% ELL this year, higher than district
"does show that in certain places, they're has high as the Boston district"
a lot more students enrolled percentagewise than the district for economic disadvantage
"I don't really have a question; I do have comments"
"I think that the mission of this school says it prepares all students" for college
actively recruiting students with high absents, high rate of academic underperformance
don't feel as though I have enough data, really
reminded me of the Auditor's report, which was really about inconsistency of things
"hearing Commissioner taking each school in its own context"
can't support charter withdrawal at this point

clarification of what vote is...vote is "intent to revoke" 
charter then has 15 days to appeal to independent hearing officer
then comes back to Board

Board members of Dorchester Collegiate charter at the table now with headmaster
Chester's memo contains several issues
"DCA has a high risk population"
special ed, ELL students, social-emotional needs a require counseling
Sagan: that seems to me to be an invented category
headmaster: "would respectively take issue with categorizing this as an 'invented category'"
Sagan interrupts him "means no disrespect"
headmaster: in terms of identifying students who need counseling, we're ahead of the curve
he's now referencing a chart that he's given to the Board
quite a number over and above IEP requirements
goal of counseling is for students to understand themselves, set goals and make responsible decisions
staffing concerns in Commissioner's memo: staffing stable "though challenged at the moment, given the Commissioner's recommendation to close"
ELL and special ed found by Department to be meeting recommendation at last year's site visit
staff has banded together to meet needs; some staff has left after Commissioner's recommendation
student performance on tests has improved over past years
students frequently enter behind grade level and have ground to make up; data shared to show ground made up
comparison with other schools
asking that DCA not examined through a stricter lens due to pressure on charter seats in Boston
Board chair: was a non-functional board, have recruited a lot of people, lot of talent
"governance is certainly at the foundation of any organization"
want to be sure everyone gets the best evidence over the next six months
want to take what we consider a good school to a great school
Headmaster: reporting number of kids in categories
"we ended up sorting out who had an IEP and who didn't after October 1"
couldn't get IEPs before the October 1 deadline
Vice-chair (I think?) now speaking: if you look at the people here today, eyes and ears sometimes override the number
school starts in fourth grade so parents can see if Boston public schools work for their kids
"we have work to do"
McKenna has to leave shortly
applaud goal of school
"if there is any reason for a charter, this would be a reason"
"have what I have seen, I am not convinced that DCA has a population that dramatically different from the Boston Public Schools"
good studies to show that kids in poverty suffer trauma and counseling is a great, great service to them to help their learning
think that many students from high poverty households could benefit from services offered
don't see that the students are different; maybe the counseling services are
turnover has been great; probation for a number of years
challenge for me to justify being a high-standard
"you have to show me that you're significantly better than the Boston Public Schools" to be a charter
deadline this week for Boston charters
if Board votes, work with Boston to make best transition possible

Peyser: "the people who engage in [charter schools] are truly heroes"
"really challenging work that doesn't always succeed"
"closing a school is very serious business"
"can't take this lightly...can't shirk responsibility"
he's reading this, BTW
school placed on probation two years ago
will support revoking charter

Willyard: visited the school
wanted to at least see and hear their side
"it's tough"
reluctantly will support Chester's recommendation

Doherty: not a fan of charter schools
"just because I am opposed to having more charter schools in the state, doesn't mean that I want to do unnecessary harm to the charters that we do have."
visited school, saw teachers and students seriously engaged in their work
met 8 out of 9 goals
very many concerned parents, teachers, students
doesn't make sense that has a Level 2 school we would revoke a charter

Craven:does it put a chill on future endeavors that are difficult?
hard to answer
procedurally: lottery of Boston charters is Friday; sort of means they can't appeal

Noyce: how do you recruit high need students?
how long has your counseling program been in place?
why such high attrition?
Headmaster: have a lottery, actively recruit in areas for students who meet what their population is
counseling has grown in scale up from start of school
attrition: some parents left when they decided not to expand to high school

Moriarty: appreciated time in school to talk to staff
charter was issued with conditions and was essentially a reprieve
"it's a draconian business to close a school"
"would be looking for egregiousness" to pull a charter mid-charter
"it's unstabilizing"
asks how they're stabilize their staff if they stay open
headmaster: had looked for a path forward after Chester called Board members "which would involve leadership change"
in other words, Chester called the board to see if they'd fire the headmaster to keep the school open
comfort in finding way forward
convinced of headmaster's connection in moving forward in transition if necessary

VOTE 6-4 to pull charter
Stewart, Doherty, Morton, Noyce voting against
I should note that this was a very hesitant vote; several hands did not go up right away, and there were several members looking around the table. 

1 comment:

laMissy said...

"it's a draconian business to close a school"

Or to take over an entire district.