by Karel Kilimnik
February 10, 2018
As we count down the final days of the SRC, we continue to examine the policies implemented by the Broad Academy-trained Superintendent, Dr Hite. Eli Broad is one of many uber-wealthy “philanthropists” pushing their corporate education agenda public school systems across the country, including ours. Broad is a firm believer in free-market policies and in the role of competition in education. Experience and degrees in education are secondary. Self-proclaimed innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit will suffice.
Two themes emerge in this edition of Eyes on the SRC. First, the determination of both the District and the SRC to outsourcing services traditionally performed by District staff. Second, the increasing use of data to inflict real damage on district schools at the same time the District fails to provide data justifying its decisions to overhaul certain neighborhood schools. Where is the data to the Transformation Schools, Turnaround Network Schools, Redesign Schools, Priority Schools—all sold by the Hite administration as that year’s remedy for struggling schools? Magic Data is about as valuable as Magic Money. There is an Education Industrial Complex at work dipping into education funds and enriching edu-vendors at the expense of our children. Some examples from this month include Resolutions A-2 and Resolution A-11, which will enrich the owners and stockholders of The New Teacher Project (TNTP) and Jounce Partners, respectively, with little expectation that it will provide a better learning experience for students.
While education advocates fight for more funding in Harrisburg, the SRC continues to put precious dollars into the pockets of vendors, consultants and faux education groups like TNTP. Resolutions A-12, B-2, and A-3 demonstrate the growing influence of private funders including the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) and the William Penn Foundation, whose policies and pet projects are simply rubber-stamped by the SRC without public deliberation.
Dr Hite often speaks about what teachers should be doing to address student trauma, even as his policies inflict more turmoil on entire school communities. His decision on this year’s cohort of Priority Schools forces both Steel Elementary School in Nicetown and Rhoads Elementary School in West Philadelphia into the District’s Turnaround Network. Both principals and teachers will be compelled to re-apply for their positions. “Up to” 80% of teachers can be retained—that means 20% must leave, and that most of the faculty can be forced out before next school year. How does all this turmoil affect students already affected by trauma? It simply escalates their feelings of instability and loss of control. Relationships developed with teachers and principals over the years are tossed aside as new teachers are brought in. Perhaps Dr. Hite sees fit to introduce one of ten partner vendors already approved by the SRC for professional development. What our students need is stability, nurturing of relationship—not blended learning that sits children in front of computer screens instead of interacting with a teacher. These resolutions (A-7, B-12) send an astronomical $19 million into the coffers of “various vendors” and Pearson Incorporated, which has profited greatly from the enforced yearly testing mandated by No Child Left Behind.
At this meeting, the SRC will consider resolutions on proposed contracts to various vendors totaling over $114 million.
This question takes on a new significance this month: if the SRC votes to approve all resolutions, which it does over 99% of the time, it will send more than $114 million to outside companies including: TNTP (A-2); Kelly Services, for outsourcing of substitute services (A-4 & 5); Pearson Inc., for “instructional management” (A-7); CLI (B-9) and other companies for more outsourcing of Professional Development (B-10 and B-11); several companies for online instruction/blended learning (B-12). For only $24 million, the district could bring back one Certified School Librarian for every school in the district.
Next SRC meeting: Thursday, February 15 at 4:30 PM in the auditorium at 440 No. Broad Street. Call 215-400-4180 by 3:30 on February 14th to sign up to speak.
Resolutions of Note
SRC Withholds Information on Costly Resolutions
A-1 General/Categorical Funds: Approves Personnel, Terminations
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission hereby ratifies the appointment of the following persons to the positions, on the effective dates through January 31, 2018 and at the salaries respectively noted, as recommended by the Superintendent, provided that: (a) continued employment of persons appointed to positions funded by categorical grants is contingent upon the availability of grant funds; and (b) persons appointed to positions funded by operating funds, shall report to either the Superintendent or his/her designees, and shall serve at the pleasure of the School Reform Commission.
A-24 Operating Budget: $4,800 Ratification of Contract with Bernie Hoffman – Professional Development
A-25 Donation: $50,000 Ratification of Acceptance of Donation of Services from David Evan
B-11 (Pending) Categorical/Grant Fund: $169,000 Contract with International Center for Leadership in Education – Professional Development
APPS Analysis: Every month there is at least one resolution devoid of any description. How is the public able to comment on something that provides no information? The five SRC commissioners are government officials in charge of a $3 million budget. That responsibility includes informing the public. That part of their job appears to have lost in translation. Will a Mayoral-appointed Board provide explanations to the public before writing checks?
SRC Helps TNTP to Expand Its Market
Categorical/Grant Fund/Operating Budget: $4,000,000 Contract with TNTP – New Principal Coaching and Related Services
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent, or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with TNTP, Inc. to provide coaching and related services to first- and second-year principals as part of the New Principal Academy, for an amount not to exceed $4,000,000, for the period commencing July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021.
Description: The School District of Philadelphia, through the Office of Leadership Development & Evaluation is charged with identifying the competencies (knowledge, skills and mindsets) a great leader possesses, evaluating leaders against these core competencies and providing leaders with targeted development aligned to the competencies to ensure that every child attends a great school. As part of this work, we lead a New Principals Academy to develop and support our first and second year principals. The School District of Philadelphia is seeking job-embedded coaching and professional development (PD) facilitation support for first and second year principals participating in the New Principals¿ Academy. The coaching and PD facilitation support will improve principals¿ effectiveness as instructional leaders and building managers as measured by improvements in student learning, as well as improvements in principals¿ performance on the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Framework for Leadership. First year principals receive at least six hours per month of individualized coaching services. Second year principals receive at least three hours per month of one-to-one coaching.
The current budget for New Principals Academy Coaching for the 17-18 SY is $1.1 million, which includes 4 Leadership Coaches that provide job embedded coaching for first and second year principals. This current partnership concludes on June 20, 2018. The budget for this 3- year contract is $3.5- $4 million, which includes provisions for potential increases in the number of new principals, costs of living adjustments and inflation. Coaching will run from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2021.
APPS Analysis: APPS has written about TNTP many times in Eyes and other analyses. Over the past four years, the district has paid TNTP millions to recruit and screen teacher and principal applicants, and to train and to retain them as new hires. The large number of teacher vacancies in the district each year shows that TNTP has not been very successful, yet the district keeps figuring out more ways to send them business. This resolution would have the district hire TNTP coaches to work with new principals and assistant principals. TNTP was founded by corporate ed reformer Michelle Rhee as an offshoot of Teach for America (TFA); most of their team members and coaches are former TFA employees. TNTP’s current president taught for two years as a TFA corp member before opening a charter school in New York City; that school was closed by the state after only three years because of low test scores, teacher turnover, and financial issues. TNTP chose to reward Rhee for this failure by promoting her to the presidency of their organization with a salary over $300,000. We have questioned the research on which TNTP bases its work as well as the inexperience of its team members.
[As we don’t have enough room to enumerate all of TNTP’s shortcomings and the corporate ed reformer money that support the organization, you can find an excellent accounting of TNTP here.]
TNTP also provides training for aspiring principals in the PhillyPLUS program, funded by both the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) and the Gates Foundation. Of the 13-member PhillyPLUS team of coaches and directors, seven are former Teach for America corp members, with an average of a little over two years teaching experience. Only four team members had experience as a principal in a public school or charter school. Of those, only two had more than four years experience as principals. It is safe to assume that the TNTP coaches in the district’s Principal Academy reflect the same level of inexperience.
This contract brings the total taxpayer money going from the District to TNTP to $6,065,533. That does not include the money the district might pay TNTP if they are partnered with one of this year’s Priority Schools. TNTP was listed as one of the School Support Services Partners for SGS Intervention Schools. This means they are eligible to receive some of the $750,000 approved by the SRC in August 2017 for contracts with these providers.
Categorical/Grant Fund: $257,750 Contracts with Jounce Partners, Inc., The New Teacher Project, Hendy Avenue Consulting – Independence Mission Schools
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with Jounce Partners, Inc. to provide leadership training and coaching in the Independence Mission Schools (IMS), for an amount not to exceed $85,000.00, for the period commencing February 16, 2018 through August 31, 2018, and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with The New Teacher Project (TNTP) to provide professional development to all teachers and leaders in the IMS schools on the Common Core State Standards and the TNTP Core rubric. TNTP will also provide leadership coaching for principals and assistant principals, for an amount not to exceed $96,600.00, for the period commencing February 16, 2018 through August 31, 2018, and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with Hendy Avenue Consulting to provide IMS school leader support, to collect instructional data, to collect feedback and recommend changes to the TNTP Core Rubric and to provide support in updating a tool to be used to analyze school specific and network-wide data, for an amount not to exceed $76,050.00, for the period commencing February 16, 2018 through May 31, 2018.
Description: The School District of Philadelphia receives a Title II Part A award through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The Title II award is subject to Equitable Share for non-public schools. The Title II Equitable Share allocation is used to provide professional development services to the nonpublic schools that generate the allocations. Services are determined by and agreed upon via consultation between the school district and the nonpublic schools. Through consultation with the IMS, it was determined that the 2017-18 Title II allocation generated by the IMS schools should be used to develop leader and teacher effectiveness and knowledge of the Common Core State Standards and the TNTP Core Rubric. Each of the services described was subject to an informal competitive quotation process and the three vendors selected were most responsive to meeting the needs of the IMS. Jounce Partners, TNTP and Hendy Avenue Consulting will be providing the services described below.
Jounce Partners, Inc. will train and coach assistant principals on the core elements of effective high frequency, high intensity coaching. Jounce Partners will also train and coach instructional leaders on effective coaching techniques and classroom practices at five IMS schools with the goal of preparing teachers to move into instructional leadership roles and effectively coach other teachers.
TNTP will organize and conduct professional development sessions that prepare teachers to deliver a Common Core aligned lesson with students. School leaders will then be responsible for leading their school through a school based reflection process after delivery of lessons. ELA sessions will push participants on the purpose and urgency of using complex text, while building skill with using texts through rigorous, text dependent questions. Math sessions will build on participant knowledge of the shifts, further developing the ability to prioritize the most important work of the grade for their own classroom planning and increase the cognitive demands of students. In addition, participants will prepare their lessons with an eye towards demonstration of learning in order to develop concrete ideas and tools they can bring back to their classrooms.
TNTP will also conduct s Leadership Coaching Program for IMS principals and assistant principals. TNTP will: 1) develop a vision of academic excellence with the principals and assistant principals aligned with the Chief Academic Officer’s vision and goals for excellent teaching and student achievement; 2) build the capacity of principals and assistant principals to communicate their vision of academic excellence to their teachers and develop their teachers’ ability to execute toward this vision; 3) monitor progress to ensure the principal and the assistant principal development yields changes in management strategies and teachers’ classroom practice aligned with goals; and 4) conduct bi-weekly coaching sessions, in-person and virtually, to support principals and assistant principals in achieving the goals set forth. The TNTP leadership coach will work side-by-side with principals and assistant principals in schools, providing the opportunity to practice coaching teachers with immediate feedback. Virtual coaching sessions will be utilized to monitor progress, discuss challenges and plan for upcoming in- person coaching sessions.
Hendy Avenue Consulting will support the leadership team at six IMS schools. Hendy Avenue will conduct co-observations of instruction and the use of the TNTP Core rubric and will support calibration efforts and feedback to the teachers observed. Hendy Avenue Consulting will also gather classroom data for a cross-network analysis of instructional practices; collect feedback and make recommendations for changes and additions to the TNTP Core rubric; support change management regarding implementation; and provide technical assistance on a data tool to capture observation data and understand trends within a school and across the IMS network.
APPS Analysis: Hendy Avenue is an offshoot of TFA and TNTP, named for the elementary school attended by Hendy Avenue founder and president Sarah Rosskamm. No teaching experience is cited on her resume, but she was a Broad Resident at Achievement First charter school and then Senior Director, Talent Development and Chief of Staff with the Achievement First Charter network. Hendy Avenue started in 2013. Their website advertises their work with TNTP, several KIPP schools, and a chain of charters operating in California and Tennessee called “Aspire Public Schools”.
(See APPS’ “The Growing Influence of Jounce Partners” for an in-depth analysis of Jounce and its disturbing techniques. Not only is Jounce embedded in several District schools, the SRC just approved an application for Deep Roots Charter, to open Fall 2018, even after admitting the application was inadequate. Deep Roots is sponsored by Jounce.)
SRC Helps PSP to Expand its Influence
Extension of Grant Acceptance from the Philadelphia School Partnership – Program Support Position
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to extend the acceptance period of a grant from Philadelphia School Partnership for a Program Support position for the Teacher Residency Program, authorized by Resolution A-2, approved by the School Reform Commission on May 18, 2017, from its original scheduled expiration date of November 30, 2018 through July 30, 2019.
Description: This is an extension of a May 18, 2017 resolution to accept funds for a position through November 2018. The Office of Talent is currently implementing and refining a pilot Teacher Residency Program for the District, a school based, immersive preparation programs within district schools. This program was developed in response to the districts’ needs in teacher preparation and recruitment, as Teacher Residency programs have demonstrated positive outcomes in key areas such as student achievement, teacher retention, and teacher diversity.
APPS ANALYSIS: The District is rife with private entities assuming fiscal responsibility for District functions. PSP funds programs chosen by their board members, including professional development. PSP also extends grants to out-of-state Charter School Management companies seeking to gain a foothold in the District. According to Resolution A-2 of May 18, 2017:
“This program will target current district employees, career changers, and other professionals to work as teachers throughout the District with a priority focus on hard-to-fill schools and hard-to-fill content areas. “
Just last month, the SRC approved a $490,000 contract for teacher recruitment, after spending $100,000 for recruitment last year. Every year, the District has a growing vacancy list. The question, then, is how well is this residency plan working?
Wasn’t Outsourcing Substitutes Supposed to Be Cheaper?
A-4 Operating Budget: $12,300,000 Contract Amendment with Kelly Services – Substitute Staffing and Management
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee to execute, deliver, and perform an amendment of Contract No. 0703/F16, originally entered into with Kelly Services, Inc. pursuant to Resolution No. A-35, approved by the School Reform Commission on May 19, 2016, by increasing the dollar amount of the contract by an additional $12,300,000 from the $42,000,000 approved in Resolution A-35, to an amount not to exceed $54,300,000.
Description: Kelly Services, Inc. (“Kelly”) will continue to provide substitute staff for Teachers, Counselors, Librarians, Classroom Assistants, Secretaries, Pre-K Teacher Assistants, Food Service Assistants, Student Climate Staff, and Support Service Assistants for The School District of Philadelphia (the “School District”). To support this work, Kelly will deliver a best-in-class substitute management system, and provide a customer support call center opening at 5 a.m. each school day for the School District’s employees and administrators.
When the School District entered into this Contract, the School District anticipated fill rates of around 70%, but Kelly has surpassed this target with an average of 85% in SY 2017-2018. The School District pays Kelly per day per substitute, so the increased fill rate has raised the overall cost. This resolution will allow the School District to continue filling absences with Kelly substitutes through the end of the Contract term on June 30, 2018.
Operating Budget: $64,000,000 Contract with Kelly Services, Inc. – Substitute Staffing and Management – 2 years
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with Kelly Services, Inc., to provide substitute teachers and other substitute school-based staff, for an amount not to exceed $64,000,000 ($32,000,000/year), for the period commencing July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020, together with the option to extend the term of this Contract for one additional year, for an additional amount not to exceed $32,000,000.
Description: Kelly Services, Inc. (“Kelly”) will provide substitute staff for Teachers, Counselors, Librarians, Classroom Assistants, Secretaries, Pre-K Teacher Assistants, Food Service Assistants, Student Climate Staff, and Support Service Assistants for The School District of Philadelphia (the “School District””). To support this work, Kelly will deliver a best-in-class substitute management system, including a customer support call center opening at 5 a.m. each school day for the School District’s employees and administrators.
APPS Analysis: Where is the data showing the money saved by outsourcing substitute services to Kelly? After a disastrous year using Source4Teachers, Dr Hite finally terminated that contract, then immediately entered into one with Kelly Services. How much has been saved by removing substitute services from the PFT? Vacancies continue to exist at particular schools like Harding, designated a Priority School in the first cohort. (Note that they claim to be supplying Librarians—has anyone seen a substitute librarian?)
Students Need Teachers—Not Machines
Categorical/Grant Fund/Operating Budget: $9,549,665 Contract with NCS Pearson – Instructional Management System
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes the School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent, or his designee, to execute, deliver, and perform a contract with NCS Pearson, Inc., for the Instructional Management System (SCHOOLNET), for an amount not to exceed $9,549,665.00 for the period commencing July 1, 2018 through June 20, 2023.
Description: The Office of Information Technology & Data Management and the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are proposing a 5-year contract with NCS Pearson as the District’s Instructional Management System provider. In 2002, the District engaged SchoolNet Inc. (now part of NCS Pearson) through an RFP process and capitalized the purchase of a perpetual license agreement to establish an integrated data and instructional system. The District is currently contracting with Pearson for hosting, upgrades, and support services that are scheduled to end on June 30, 2018.
The system provides integrated web access to student data, instructional tools and an assessment platform.
1. Teacher and Administrator Data Dashboards
2. Curriculum and Standards Management
3. Collaboration Tools for Teachers and Students
4.An Integrated Assessment Platform for benchmark tests to classroom resources for teachers
The Instructional Management System (IMS) is both content and technology-neutral, enabling the District to “plug-in” resources that target the needs of all stakeholders.
This comprehensive set of tools by Pearson is available to administrators, teachers, and employees, providing one-click access to District programs and student data. The successful adoption of the tools and resources has established this platform as a core foundational tool used in the delivery of instruction and assessment of student progress.
The IMS has:
– Enabled the District to be flexible as academic priorities changed delivering assessments and content from multiple providers.
– Provided reports and data-mining tools to support success for every student.
– Integrated with multiple District systems (i.e. Data Warehouse and the Student Information System) and 3rd party providers (i.e. ScholarChip, Pennsylvania Department of Education, CK-12, Standards Aligned System).
The IMS provides tools for administrators to facilitate:
– Informed decision-making based on timely access to data.
– Aggregate and disaggregated reports for school, grade, and classroom.
The IMS provides tools for teachers to enable:
– Identification of PA Core Standards aligned instructional resources matched to student data. – Opportunities for professional development.
– Analysis of student data
The overall purpose of developing and implementing a supplemental benchmark assessments and teacher assessment resources is to provide data to teachers and schools that will allow them to more precisely target their instructional efforts to areas that are most in need, both at the student- and classroom-level. In addition, the benchmark assessments will be developed to align to the scope and sequence, which has been redeveloped to align with the Pennsylvania Core Standards.
Various Funds: $10,000,000 Contracts with Various Vendors – Online Courses and Adaptive Instructional Programs – Subject to Funding
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform contracts separately with Edgenuity- Middle and secondary Course Library, Achieve 3000, Imagine Language and Literacy, Teachtown, Learning A-Z (Raz-Plus), Learning A – Z (HeadSprout), Lexia Learning, Edgenuity- My Path, Edgenuity Pathblazer, Edgenuity- Up Smart Test Readiness, Curriculum Associates Inc. – iReady, Waterford Research Institute, Imagine Math, ThinkCERCA, for Online Courses and Adaptive Instructional Programs in Grades K – 12 (academic intervention products and programs to support the District’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Support – Response to Intervention and Instruction (MTSS-RtII) initiative for mathematics and literacy instruction), for an aggregate amount not to exceed $10,000,000, for the period commencing March 3, 2018 through June 30, 2020.
Description: In collaboration with the Office of Educational Technology, the Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment conducted a request for proposal (RFP #554) to establish a District approved list of qualified vendors for online courses and adaptive instructional programs in grades K – 12 for SY 2018-2019 to SY 2019-2020.
This proposed award represents completion of the public solicitation under RFP-554, Online Courses and Adaptive Instructional Programs, issued by Procurement on August 11, 2017. Seventy-eight (78) companies downloaded the solicitation. Forty-two (42) vendors responded to this solicitation. A total of fourteen (14) vendors were ultimately selected for online courses and adaptive instructional programs for writing, literacy and/or math. The name of the online adaptive instructional programs as well as the name of the vendors include the following: Edgenuity- Middle and secondary Course Library, Achieve 3000, Imagine Language and Literacy, Teachtown, Learning A-Z (Raz-Plus), Learning A – Z (HeadSprout), Lexia Learning, Edgenuity- My Path, Edgenuity Pathblazer, Edgenuity- Up Smart Test Readiness, Curriculum Associates Inc. – iReady, Waterford Research Institute, Imagine Math, ThinkCERCA.
The School District of Philadelphia has set the following outcomes as it moves towards building more virtual and digital learning experiences:
1. To expand access to quality courses and content.
2. To improve the quality of online courses and adaptive programs.
3. To enable teachers to be more effective by leveraging online instructional models and materials. 4. To personalize the student learning experience with the goal of improving academic outcomes and closing the achievement gap.
The online courses identified through these vendors will be used in the classroom in a variety of contexts. 1. Online courses
2. Credit recovery
3. Grade improvement
4. Advanced Placement
Online adaptive programs – Online adaptive programs (non-credit earning) are resources for all of students that can provide acceleration and enrichment and that personalizes the instructional experiences based on student need that can be used in a blended classroom in the context of the following MTSS levels:
-Tier 1: all learners on target and/or advanced: and
-Tier 2: 1 to 2 years below level; and -Tier 3: 2+ years below level
The vendors identified through the RFP will provide online adaptive instructional programs for writing, literacy and mathematics that can prevent and address student-learning gaps and offer enrichment. The selection of online adaptive instructional programs will provide support and resources for individual student’s academic achievement.
Vendors are advised that an award is not a guarantee that licenses will be purchased. Rather, it allows individual schools the opportunity to purchase licensed programs.
APPS ANALYSIS: Almost $20 million is being allocated to online learning and data management companies in this month alone. (This in addition to the $10 million the SRC set aside for blended learning in 2016.) How many teachers, counselors, and librarians could this money buy? Our students need caring, competent adults working with them, not more time in front of a screen. Technology is a tool to be used as part of a teaching program, not a replacement for it. “Data mining” is listed as a service in this resolution with no acknowledgment that it is something to be cautioned against. Who receives this information, how it is used, and what rights do parents/students have to opt out? Are penalties imposed for removing oneself from this data collection? Pearson Inc. is the testing giant gobbling our limited resources in the testing craze that has debilitated education and narrowed curriculum to a test-prep format.
(For more information on the forces supporting online/blended learning and data mining, check out Philadelphia parent/activist Alison McDowell’s blog Wrench in the Gears.)
SRC Spurs Growth of the Education/Information Industrial Complex
Categorical/Grant Fund: $253,500 Acceptance of Academic Parent Teacher Teams Subgrant from WestEd; Acceptance of Donated Services from WestEd; MOU with WestEd
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to accept a subgrant from WestEd, if awarded, of up to $253,500, originating from a grant between the William Penn Foundation and WestEd, to implement the evidence-based Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT) model in nine District elementary schools, that aligns grade-level learning concepts, student performance data, and family-teacher communication and collaboration to strengthen family engagement, for the period commencing February 16, 2018 through June 30, 2020; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to accept with appreciation from WestEd the donation of training, coaching and technical assistance to implement the APTT in nine District elementary schools, valued at $506,900; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, contingent upon receipt of this donation, to execute, deliver and perform a Memorandum of Understanding, in the form acceptable to the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Risk Management, with WestEd, to provide these services in District schools, for the period commencing February 16, 2018 through June 30, 2020.
Description: The purpose of this resolution is threefold: 1) to authorize the acceptance of a monetary subgrant from WestEd, sponsored by the William Penn Foundation; 2) to accept the donation of training, coaching and technical assistance for school district teachers and administrators; and 3) implement the Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT) model in nine elementary schools, selected through an application process that demonstrates school-readiness to implement a new effective approach to engage families that supports student learning.
Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT) is a systematic process that builds and sustains family engagement and leadership through professional development and dual capacity-building that result in strong family-school partnerships. The goal of this partnership is to empower both teachers and families with targeted information, tools, and strategies that can enrich the home learning environment. The objectives of APTT training and technical assistance are to build the capacity of:
–teachers to engage families in student learning goals,
–administrators to grow and sustain family engagement practices,
–families to support their child’s learning goals, and
–staff to create systematic process for school and family partnerships to align with school improvement goals.
The APTT model supplements and elevates the efforts of traditional parent conferences by expanding opportunities for families and teachers to collaborate. This format creates a systematic pathway for teachers to share grade-level information, tools, and strategies that families can apply at home and in the community to accelerate students’ learning. By implementing APTT, schools take responsibility for engaging in a collaborative process to build strong relationships with families and empowering their students’ families to make concrete contributions to student growth and achievement.
Families attend three 75-minute team meetings each year and one individual session with the classroom teacher. The team meetings give families opportunities to learn and contribute in a collaborative environment. Families learn important grade-level information about foundational level skills and effective, engaging home practices.
The first phase in the APTT implementation process is a six-month awareness and preparation phase. WestEd will work collaboratively with the district to plan for and assemble a cohort of nine ready schools to implement APTT. The work includes developing a plan to share family engagement research and best practices with district and school leaders; developing knowledge and understanding of the APTT model of family engagement and application with schools and families; and developing an application, rubric, and selection process for eligible schools to be part of the process.
The second phase in the APTT implementation process is a two-day intensive training for teachers, school support staff, school and district administrators across offices and units, and individuals from local organizations working in partnership with schools in the district. Through activities and discussions, they will experience a paradigm shift from a parent involvement to a family engagement model and develop skills to incorporate APTT’s family engagement approach in their everyday practices and interactions with parents and caregivers. Activities include videos, documents, and additional exercises about APTT’s essential elements for strategically connecting families and schools. They include:
–Meaningful Partnerships to facilitate the development of strong, trusting relationships that lead to collaboration and mutual support,
–Improved Communication to help families gain a deep and practical understanding of their shared responsibility for student learning growth,
–Shared Data to increase knowledge and understanding of measures of success to cultivate high expectations and goals, and
–Access to Resources to provide families materials, trainings, and hands-on opportunities to support continued learning and shared responsibility to improve student outcomes.
For all APTT meetings with families, the model ensures that administrators and teachers incorporate six critical elements for successful family engagement:
1. Welcome and Team Building: facilitates the development of strong, trusting relationships that lead to collaboration and mutual support beyond the classroom.
2. Teaching Foundational Grade-Level Skills: helps families gain a practical understanding of the skill and how it can be applied to support student learning.
3. Sharing Data: increases families’ knowledge of and comfort level with academic measures of success and to cultivate high expectations and shared responsibility for student learning growth.
4. Teacher Modeling: promotes growth in the selected foundational grade-level skills by demonstrating and discussing exercises with families.
5. Family Practicing of Activities: supports family engagement in activities that promote student growth in the foundational grade-level skills by providing families materials and hands-on opportunities.
6. Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound) Goals: helps families as they take an active role in setting high expectations and monitoring their child’s growth and achievement.
By implementing these activities and practices, families are not only welcomed but encouraged to engage in partnerships with schools and districts.
APPS Analysis: WestEd has received millions from the Gates Foundation as part of Gates’ drive to impose the Common Core. WestEd has developed the “Academic Parent Teacher Team”; the program consists of three 75-minute sessions each year, along with one individual session. It sounds like an approach to Parent Education that could be developed by each school depending the needs of the families at each school. Schools have routinely held parent education meetings independent of vendors. Instead of imposing the preferences of its board members on schools, why doesn’t the William Penn Foundation support schools interested in developing their own parent education program? Teachers and other school staff who are already connected to students and their families could create a plan that more accurately reflects the need of the school community. Give that $253,500 grant directly to the schools to pay for staff time, food, and childcare for families. The William Penn Foundation has taken a leading role in funding outside vendors who provide services formerly provided by District staff. Schools used to have Parent Community Liaisons, Bi-lingual Counseling Assistants, and two counselors in K-8 schools who addressed these issues. They have vanished, only to be replaced by private companies with no connection to the community. Who really benefits from this arrangement?
Donation: $60,000 Amendment of Acceptance of Donation of Services from The Center for Supportive Services; $90,000 Acceptance of Grant from The Center for Supportive Services; Memorandum of Understanding – Peer Group Connection Model
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to amend the period for the acceptance donation of services from The Center for Supportive Schools (CSS) in four District schools, authorized by Resolution No. A- 4, approved by the School Reform Commission on September 14, 2017, from its original scheduled expiration date of June 30, 2018 through June 30, 2020; and to increase the amount of the donation of services by an additional $60,000, from $439,500 approved by Resolution A-4 to an amount not to exceed $499,500, to implement the Peer Group Connections Model at Sayre High School,
And be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a Memorandum of Understanding, in the form acceptable to the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Risk Management, with The Center for Supportive Schools, to provide these services at five District schools, for the period through June 30, 2020; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to accept with appreciation a grant from The Center for Supportive Schools to cover in school costs and stipends for the Peer Group Connection Model in the amount of $90,000 and to support an evaluation by the School District’s Office of Research and Evaluation of the Peer Group Connections model as implemented in the School District, for an amount not to exceed $38,000, for a total amount not to exceed $128,000, for the period commencing January 18, 2018 through June 30, 2020.
Description: Peer Group Connections will improve educational outcomes for students in Philadelphia high schools through the implementation and evaluation of an evidence-based, peer group mentoring and high school transition program. CSS will implement, in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP), the Peer Group Connection (PGC) program, an evidence-based, high school program that provides a continuum of support to students as they transition from middle to high school. PGC is a group mentoring model in which high school juniors and seniors are trained to become mentors and positive role models for 9th graders to help the freshmen make a successful transition to high school. PGC trains select school faculty to prepare older students, specifically high school juniors and seniors, to mentor and educate younger students, specifically freshman. PGC is implemented as follows:
– PGC begins with the assembly of a stakeholder team of administrators, faculty, parents, and/or community members who support PGC implementation and long-term sustainability.
– Carefully selected faculty members, whom we call faculty advisors, participate in an 11-day daily, 45- minute leadership development class (i.e., an elective course for credit) to become peer mentors, positive role models, and discussion leaders for 9th graders.
On September 14, 2017 resolution A-4 authorized the District to accept donated services from The Center for Supportive Schools for 4 comprehensive high schools. The 4 schools include Ben Franklin High School, Kensington High School, South Philadelphia High School, and Northeast High School. This resolution expands the scope of this project by accepting donated services to be used for an additional school. The school selected is Sayre High School . The resolution also includes the acceptance of funds directly by the 5 schools receiving the donated services. Those funds will be used to cover in-school costs and stipends as schools implement the Peer Group Connection Model. Additional funds will also be used to cover costs for The Office of Research and Evaluation to support an evaluation of this initiative.
APPS Analysis: A pattern we have seen emerge over years of reading SRC resolutions: a vendor begins by donating its services, then a funder like PSP or the Wm Penn Foundation gets involved, and the next year the contracts are drawn up and the District pays out of pocket. This Administration defends its closing or charterizing or overhauling of schools in some way by the use of test scores and other data, so we ask where the data is that shows the effectiveness of this program.
We wrote about the Center for Supportive Schools when this Resolution first appeared in September 2017. Our analysis provides background information on this entity, which is composed of former TFA, KIPP, and other charter school staff and board members.
A-25 Donation: $50,000 Ratification of Acceptance of Donation of Services from David Evan Rudall aka Kenwood Education Advising; Memorandum of Understanding
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission ratifies the acceptance by the School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, with appreciation, from David Evan Rudall (Kenwood Education Advising) the donation of strategic planning and executive facilitation services to create a high quality and accessible plan update that will bring a clear focus to all aspects of our work so that every decision, action and investment creates access and opportunity for all students, valued at $50,000, and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission hereby ratifies the execution, delivery and performance by The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, of a Memorandum of Understanding, contingent upon receipt of this donation, in the form acceptable to the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Risk Management, with David Evan Rudall (Kenwood Education Advising), to provide these services to the School District, for the period commencing December 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018.
Description: This project will result in the creation of areas of focus and key actions that will advance achievement of the goals in Action Plan 3.0. The project will help direct, focus and continue the work the District has done to improve academic outcomes for all grades. In addition, the plan update will bring a clear equity focus to all aspects of the work so that every decision, action and investment creates access and opportunity for all students.
David Evan Rudall will provide expertise to help us articulate our progress and the path forward and to identify ways to infuse equity within all of our goals and activities. District and school leaders will provide expert input around progress and needed next steps. David Evan Rudall will provide short-term capacity to quickly create high quality and accessible areas of focus and key actions.
APPS Analysis: David Evan Rudall is firmly lodged in the charter world despite fewer than three years teaching experience. His resume includes: Founder and Co-Director of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School (Boston); Special Assistant to NYC Education Chancellor Joel Klein’s NYC Department of Education; CEO & COO of Uncommon Schools (CSMO). For the past two years, he has billed himself as an “Independent Consultant and Executive Coach”. Both Roxbury Prep CS and Uncommon Schools practice the “No Excuses” discipline policy. “No excuses” includes tracking your teacher visually, demerits for not tucking in your shirt, responding automatically (and promptly) to commands, and often expulsion for failure to meet any of these demands. Instead of involving stakeholders in ongoing conversations about school planning and implementation, do we really want someone with Rudall’s background creating guidelines? There is almost no information available about his Kenwood Education Advising consulting firm.
Early Childhood Priorities
Categorical/Grant Fund: Acceptance of No-Cost Extension of Grant from The William Penn Foundation; Amendment of Contract with Public Health Management Corporation – Kindergarten Transition
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to accept a no-cost extension of the utilization period of a grant from The William Penn Foundation, previously authorized pursuant to Resolution B-6, approved by the School Reform Commission on March 17, 2016, and Resolution B-3, approved by the School Reform Commission on February 16, 2017, to support continued improvements to the School District’s efforts to transition students and their families into kindergarten, by extending that grant utilization period from its scheduled expiration date of June 8, 2018 through October 30, 2018; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes the School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver, and perform an amendment of a contract with Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), previously authorized pursuant to Resolution B-6, approved by the School Reform Commission on March 17, 2016, and Resolution B-3, approved by the School Reform Commission on February 16, 2017, by extending the term of the contract from its scheduled expiration date of June 8, 2018 through October 30, 2018.
Description: A key component of the School District’s Action Plan is Anchor Goal 2, ensuring that students are reading on grade-level by third grade. Creating and sustaining a preK to Grade 3 learning continuum is a significant component to ensuring that third graders have the foundational skills they need for long-term academic success.
The District has been working with community partners like those participating in the “Read! By 4th” campaign to address many of the cross-systems training and support needs between and among the preK and K-12 sectors to enhance PreK-3 instructional alignment. However, the full impact of these efforts will not be fully realized without a concomitant attention to solving the considerable operational and infrastructure challenges this city confronts around the Kindergarten Transition experience, which include:
-Ensuring that all five-year-olds are identified, registered and enrolled in kindergarten several months before the school year begins so that not only are the children ready for kindergarten, but kindergarten classrooms are ready for the children;
-Ensuring that all families of incoming kindergarteners have an established working protocol around what to expect from their children’s teachers and are provided with meaningful tools and activities to facilitate a smooth transition; and
-Ensuring that schools are able to support a smooth transition to kindergarten for all children by meeting each family prior to the start of the school year and reviewing relevant data to plan for the individual instructional needs of each incoming kindergartener.
With funds awarded through a grant from the William Penn Foundation to the School District to support Kindergarten Transition, the School District’s Office of Early Childhood Education has developed a successful, formal relationship with Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) that provides a temporary, full-time individual who works as a Fellow with the District to design and support improvements to its kindergarten transition efforts. Much of this project’s success thus far is due to PHMC’s unique position as operator of the Southeast Regional Key (SERK), one of five regional keys working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop and implement an integrated and coordinated system of quality improvements and professional development supports for schools and agencies serving children from birth through age 8. As SERK operator, PHMC enjoys convening authority with most if not all of the community-based early education care agencies in the region, and maintains an experienced team of early learning specialists that is well-versed in the most current academic research and classroom-oriented best practices.
This request for approval of an amendment to the existing PHMC contract is designed to extend the associated professional services for the entire grant award from William Penn Foundation noted above, which was originally authorized by the SRC via Resolution B-1 of 12/17/2015.
Categorical/Grant Fund: $120,000 Contract Amendment with Nulinx International, Inc. – Data Management System for Early Childhood Education
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform an amendment of Contract No. 879/F17, originally entered into with Nulinx International Inc., pursuant to Resolution B-6, approved by the School Reform Commission on January 21, 2016, by extending the term of the contract from its original scheduled expiration date of June 30, 2018 through June 30, 2019 and by increasing the amount of the contract by an additional $120,000 from $625,000 to an amount not to exceed $745,000, to support continued utilization of the Child Outcome, Planning and Administration (COPA) system for the management of data related to its citywide prekindergarten programming.
Description: The School District of Philadelphia currently provides prekindergarten services to over 10,000 three- and four-year old children in Philadelphia through an array of programs at more than 160 different internal and external sites throughout the city. These programs include Head Start, Pre-K Counts, Bright Futures and PHL-PreK, and are funded through a variety of federal, state, city and local funding sources. All of the programs are managed and coordinated by the School District’s Office of Early Childhood Education (OECE). The prekindergarten programs are delivered at school-based centers, stand-alone District centers, and high quality community-based prekindergarten providers who qualify through a competitive RFP process.
The administrative and compliance requirements of each of the funded programs necessitates the collection and analysis of significant amounts of demographic and programmatic data on children and families. Data collection begins with a family’s first contact with the program and extends through the child’s transition to kindergarten, and includes information on preK applications, enrollment, and waiting lists as well as data on student and family demographics, children’s attendance and meals, child health, and family support. The data collected is used to determine a family’s eligibility among different programs based on income and other risk factors, to track services including referrals and follow-up documentation, and to report to various stakeholders including federal, state and local funders on services, client demographics, and program statistics. As noted above, services and the related data collection and documentation occur at a wide array of program locations across the city, including District classrooms, partner sites, and the District’s Central Office.
The COPA system (Child Outcome, Planning and Administration) offered by Nulinx International Inc. was selected through a competitive RFP process and is being used by all Pre-K programs, both internal and contracted, operated or administered by the School District of Philadelphia. The COPA system uses an Application Service Provider model and is web-based, allowing for data collection in over 500 classrooms as District and partner sites as well as administrative offices. Over the past three years, OECE has required Nulinx to provide numerous customized input fields and reports in order to remain in compliance with all funders and required regulations. Extension of the current contract will enable the COPA system to continue to meet all of the various reporting and administration needs by:
–Tracking information on children and their families from the time they first apply to the program to their transition to Kindergarten;
–Providing data management that supports the implementation of Head Start, Bright Futures and other prekindergarten programs;
–Supporting program monitoring to help ensure compliance with the Head Start Performance Standards and other federal, state, and local regulations;
–Supporting program reporting including the Federal Head Start Program Information Report (PIR) and PHLPreK city reporting requirements;
–Supporting the management of other subsets of data, such as attendance, meal and snack data, teacher qualifications, and partner center information; and
–Meeting all technical specifications for the School District of Philadelphia.
Categorical/Grant Fund: Ratification of Amendments of Contracts with Various Vendors – Preschool Programs
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission hereby ratifies the execution, delivery, and
performance by The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent, of amendments of contracts to be entered into with the following providers of comprehensive pre-k program services, originally authorized pursuant to Resolution No. B-2, approved by the School Reform Commission on
June 15, 2017, and Resolution No. B-12, approved by the School Reform Commission on October 19, 2017, for the period commencing July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, in the specific individual amounts and for the reason/circumstances indicated below:
Grace Neighborhood Development Corporation – amount decreased by $136,800 from the $2,658,450 approved in Resolution B-2, to an amount not to exceed $2,521,650, due to the redeployment of 19 pre-k service slots to an area of higher demonstrated need for such programming; and
Pratt Street Learning Center – amount increased by $136,800 from the $468,000 approved in Resolutions B-2 and B-12, to an amount not to exceed $604,800, to support the operation of 19 additional pre-k service slots (for a new total of 84 students).
Description: The ratification component of this resolution is being requested in accordance with SRC Policy 820, Subsection 8, regarding acceptance and utilization of grant funding, to the extent that the proposed contractual modifications will be retroactive to July 1, 2017.
The primary objective of this particular resolution is to facilitate the reallocation of 19 high-quality, comprehensive preschool service slots funded through FY18 School District pre-k program grants to an area of the city demonstrating more pervasive need for academic and social services that support children and families living at/below the federally-defined poverty level.
The nominal overall modifications to SDP’s current pre-k service structure being proposed through this resolution have already been reviewed and provisionally approved by the cognizant funding agency.
Categorical/Grant Fund: $15,744,226.38 Contract with Children’s Literacy Initiative – Early Literacy Specialists 2018-2019
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with Children’s Literacy Initiative to identify, recruit and provide qualified Early Literacy Specialists to deliver early literacy professional development and related programming for eligible elementary schools that have participated in the District’s Early Literacy Summer Workshop Series, for an amount not to exceed $15,744,226.38 for the period commencing July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
Description: The purpose of this resolution is to seek authorization to contract with Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, to recruit and hire up to 125 Early Literacy Specialists who will have the responsibility of working directly with the school leader, teachers and other instructional staff serving Kindergarten through Grade 3 in the designated schools to build employee expertise in high quality, evidence-based early literacy instruction to support the District’s overall work towards meeting Anchor Goal 2, ensuring all students are reading on grade level by age 8.
CLI was selected for this work through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP 433 dated August 20, 2014) that was issued and supervised by the District’s Office of Procurement. Four (4) vendors submitted proposals in response to RFP 433. A District panel comprised of representation from multiple departments (Academics, Budget and Operations) selected CLI as the most qualified and responsible bidder based on content expertise, reasonableness of cost, and project management capability.
Each of the designated schools will be staffed with one full-time Early Literacy Specialist (ELS). The ongoing content, structure and deployment of the ELSs’ work with schools will be managed through the Early Literacy Directors who report to the Deputy of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, with support and input from the Deputy of Early Childhood Education as appropriate. The ELSs will provide direct training and professional development as well as job-embedded coaching with individual teachers to enhance teacher knowledge of early literacy content and practice. ELSs will also work with teachers, teacher teams and grade groups on a regular basis to track and measure the impact of early literacy professional development and inform future programming needs by generating and reviewing student progress data, including but not limited to AIMSweb and Developmental Reading Assessment results.
Required skills, knowledge and abilities of the ELSs include:
– Thorough knowledge of standards and current curriculum frameworks
– Thorough knowledge of literacy development
– Demonstrated ability to differentiate instructional practices for a full spectrum of learners – Familiarity with academic coaching methodology and practices
– Ability to support training and analysis of early literacy assessments
– Clear and succinct written and verbal communication for targeted audiences
– Effective presentation skills in various settings, both formal and informal
In addition to supporting the work of the ELSs, CLI will create online professional development modules to support ongoing teacher training needs. The modules will be created by CLI with input and direction from the District about content and scope.
APPS Analysis: These four resolutions reflect the growing trend of creating public/private partnerships to set education priorities. Mayor Kenney, through his Universal Pre-K Initiative, has strengthened the influence of private organizations in the field of Early Childhood Education. In 2013, Dr. Hite declared his intent to divest the District of Head Start because he considered the program too costly (of course, certified teachers are more expensive than staff paid close to minimum wage).
These policies have given rise to the growing influence of the foundations and agencies most district stakeholders have no relationship to: Wm Penn Foundation as a major funder, PHMC (Philadelphia Health Management Corporation) as a manager including administering the City’s Universal Pre-K as provider. Now CLI steps in to sell professional development. These were all functions of the District—until the dismantling began. When parents and staff testified in 2013 to try to stop Dr. Hite’s Head Start closures, they were ignored. If Head Start was too expensive, then how can the District now afford a $15 million contract with CLI? What happened to the District’s Reading Specialists? Professional Development used to be provided by central office staff and school staff, but outsourcing to vendors has changed that. Dr. Hite’s Anchor Goal 2—having every child reading on grade level by age 8—is unrealistic. Actual children do not develop in accordance to Anchor Goals. Children develop at different rates. Learning to read can be supported in many ways: smaller class size; having a Certified School Librarian and reading specialists on staff; intervention programs like Reading Recovery; encouraging and supporting family involvement. Unfortunately, as private agencies assume substantial roles in ECE, accountability and transparency disappear.
B-10 Categorical/Grant Fund: $105,000 Contract with SupportEd – Professional Development and Consultative Services for Collaborative Instruction
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with SupportEd to provide professional development and consultative services for School District staff including but not limited to approximately 120 teachers and/or staff in grades K-3, to enhance the instruction for English Learners (ELs), for an amount not to exceed $105,000.00 for the period commencing February 16, 2018 – June 30, 2020.
Description: SupportEd has significant experience serving English Learners (ELs) in Pennsylvania schools, school districts in other states, and on a national level. They have provided ongoing professional development in second language acquisition, teacher collaboration, co-teaching, and coaching as well as consultative support to teachers and central office staff at large urban institutions such as Syracuse City School District in New York as well as schools in New York City. Additionally, they have provided professional development to support ELs at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit and Montgomery County Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania. SupportEd has significant experience managing and implementing large scale projects with a wide variety of stakeholders such as subject matter experts and consultants, educators, local education agencies, state education agencies, and the U.S. Department of Education. SupportEd participated in RFP-573 competitive process and was selected for this contract.
The School District of Philadelphia will contract with SupportEd beginning February 2018 to deliver a 3- session series in a three year timeframe for each targeted audience: administrators & school-based leadership, school-wide staff, ESL & K-3 classroom teachers. SupportEd will also conduct a needs- analysis to inform job-embedded support at each school.
SupportEd will provide intensive professional development to the School District of Philadelphia that includes but is not limited to 120 teachers and/or staff on effective use of the various co-teaching models. This initiative is part of the Together Is Better grant awarded to the School District of Philadelphia by the William Penn Foundation and formally accepted the School Reform Commission on September 14, 2017 (SRC Board Resolution B-4).
SupportEd will subcontract specifically with Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld and Associates, the co-author of “Collaboration and Co-Teaching: Strategies for English Learners (2010),” in order to ensure fidelity of implementation of all audience-specific professional development sessions related to collaborative instructional practices between ESL and general classroom teachers. Emphasis will be made on collaborative-planning, collaborative-teaching, and collaborative-assessment. SupportEd will provide training to school administrators & school-based leadership teams, school-wide staff, English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, and K-3 classrooms teachers at three (3) schools not yet determined by the School District. Selection of the three participating schools will be determined late January 2018 and will be based on EL population, school-based staff commitment levels and schools¿ ability to carry out the functions under the TIB grant in light of other school-wide programs and initiatives.
In addition to professional development offerings, SupportEd will provide job-embedded support to include site-visits to participating schools and classrooms to collect evidence of implementation and provide structured feedback for improvement in co-teaching and collaborative instruction for ELLs.
APPS Analysis: This proposed $105,000 contract would outsource professional development for some ESOL teachers in three schools. It’s unclear what the scope of this program is for this year or for subsequent years. Is it a pilot program? This is another example of the expanding role the Wm Penn Foundation plays in determining which services are provided in the District. Who oversees SupportEd? What happens when Wm Penn stops funding the program—will it disappear or will funding fall to the District? There is a District Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs— what is their role in providing professional development and support to schools? Why does this need to be outsourced?
APPS member Cheri Micheau has testified on English As A Second Language issues at the SRC. Recently, she told the Commissioners:
“ The handbook introduces the term ‘collaborative pull-out ESOL,’ which apparently indicates that ESOL and classroom teachers will carefully co-plan lessons that meet the special needs of ELs and that will then be presented during a small-group ESOL class. However, there is no vehicle presented that would afford time and opportunity for such co-planning; it rarely happens. Pull-out instruction does provide the opportunity for specialized, EL-specific services. In ‘push-in instruction’ the ESOL teacher does not provide specialized services, but instead circulates and helps, where possible, during the regular lesson, to help ELs ‘keep up.’ Rarely in push-in instruction are students introduced to the special grammatical, vocabulary or literacy skills that their English-speaking classmates have already mastered or have the linguistic skills to capture; there is no time or opportunity.”
SupportEd provides online learning, but their website gives little information about the company. They provide no information on Co-teaching. What is their definition? Where is the research supporting this methodology? Will resources and supports be provided so that Co-teaching can be fully implemented?