What is Happening at the Dearborn?
BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAS STATED:
“Despite hard work by teachers, students, parents and partners, the Dearborn is not showing enough academic progress. This is despite extra funding and a longer school day for four years as a Turnaround school. Now, the Dearborn is at significant risk of being taken over by the state. We want it to stay a Boston Public School.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “TAKEN OVER BY THE STATE”?
First, let’s stop for a minute and examine how the state determines schools that are under-performing.
Massachusetts uses Levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to:
Define the quality of individual schools
Hold school districts accountable for their schools’ academic performance and overall quality.
Schools rated Level 1 are the best-rated schools in terms of school quality. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) states that “Level 5 is the most serious category in Massachusetts’ accountability system, representing receivership. The Commissioner may place a Level 4 school in Level 5 at the expiration of its redesign plan if the school has failed to improve…or if district conditions make it unlikely that the school will make significant improvement without a Level 5 designation.”
Location of Dearborn 6-12 STEM Academy School Building
(closed for potential construction)
What Does All This Mean?
It means that Massachusetts DESE is poised to make the Dearborn 6-12 STEM Academy a Level 5 school. In order for the Dearborn to avoid state receivership, Boston Public Schools must choose an outside operator to manage the school.
District Turnaround Receivers (or, in this case, the “operators”) are individuals or non-profit organizations that offer statewide education improvement services to manage and operate chronically underperforming (Level 5) districts.
Boston Public Schools has released a Request for Submissions (RFS) to solicit information from individuals or non-profit organizations that may have the expertise, capacity, and interest in serving as a Level 5 receiver for the Dearborn 6-12 STEM Academy. These are the organizations who will potentially run the school from now on.
Dearborn students at the White House in 2013
Why is This Important?
The future of the Dearborn 6-12 STEM Academy is being determined — in large part — by two meetings:
The RFS process began with a Stakeholder Group on Saturday, October 25th and was narrowed down to a “short list” of proposals by Monday, October 27th.
This short list will be used by the Boston Public Schools Superintendent John McDonough’s administration to determine which operator they feel is best qualified to manage the Dearborn. They will submit this proposal to Massachusetts DESE.
The Massachusetts DESE will make its recommendation on the proposal and BPS will make its final decision on who the operator for the Dearborn will be starting in the 2015-2016 school year.
This process does not:
make public information regarding all of the operators who have submitted proposals to manage the Dearborn.
make public the criteria for choosing a “short list” of operators.
include an immediate way for parents, students or local community members to have say in who they would like that manager to be.
We would like to provide you with that opportunity.