For Immediate Release February 2, 2010
For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201
New York State Joins Mass Insight, Five Other States, to Develop Partnership Zones to Turn Around Low Achieving Schools
State Education Commissioner David Steiner announced today that New York will join the Partnership Zone Initiative together with Mass Insight and five other states – Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts – to turn around low achieving schools. The Partnership Zone Initiative is a public/private partnership funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support local school districts in implementing turnaround strategies in their schools. The three-year partnership will seek private funds to enhance public funds to develop sustainable models for dramatic school turnaround.
"Certain schools have failed too many of our students and require immediate intervention. Local leaders in our school districts need innovative ideas and support to create effective strategies and workable plans to bring the promise of educational opportunity to the children that need it the most," said Education Commissioner David Steiner. "We've joined the Partnership Zone Initiative to develop aggressive intervention models that will make a profound difference in the outcomes for students."
The Partnership Zone Initiative is one of multiple strategies in the Regents reform agenda seeking to build local capacity to intervene in low performing schools. Conceptually, the partnership zone model would allow participating schools to remain inside a school district with benefits from the scale efficiencies of central services but with additional operating flexibility. Principals and lead partners would have greater flexibility to make staffing, scheduling and curriculum decisions – within the constraints of existing collective bargaining agreements – in return for accountability for dramatic student achievement within two years. New York intends the partnership zone initiative to provide school districts with additional options for transformation and turnaround models to use in schools designated as "persistently lowest performing."
The increase in available federal funding for School Turnaround Grants identified in the President's recently released FFY11 budget, as well as the potential for states to win competitive grants through the Race to the Top program, ensures that New York will have financial resources to help the persistently lowest achieving schools substantially raise student achievement. The United States Education Department has defined four models of school intervention in the Race to the Top guidelines:
- Redesign or replace the school (Turnaround Model),
- Convert the school to a charter school (Restart Model),
- School transformation, or
- School closure with transfer of students to higher performing schools in the district.
Mass Insight is an independent non-profit that partners with schools, higher education, business, and state government to significantly improve student performance, with a focus on closing achievement gaps.
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New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201