- The Committee discussed the differences in the ways the District calculates student academic growth and the PVAAS model used by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Accountability Working Group will gather more information to clarify the differences further.
- The Committee discussed including a small weighting in an accountability framework for students scoring “advanced proficient,” in recognition that advanced proficiency is as stronger measure of college preparedness than proficiency.
- There was a discussion of the 2010-11 SPI rankings, which were released to schools in mid-January. Members noted the following concerns heard from charter schools: college matriculation rates that don’t match schools’ own data; concerns about impact on SPI from there not being parent and student surveys from which to draw data in 2011; and use of a graduation-rate calculation that differs from that used by PDE.
- The Committee discussed the opportunity to apply for low-interest loans from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and how creating access to public school facilities for school operators can contribute to achieving the goals of the Compact. It was noted that there may not be great value in borrowing from the Foundation—since interest rates in the public market are quite low already. But the Foundation has emphasized its desire to provide financial support for creative financing and facilities-use ideas that might not be seen as worthy by the public-finance market. Charter members of the Committee suggested that many schools which currently lease or own their own buildings would be interested in moving into district facilities if they could effectively lower their operating costs by doing so. The Committee expressed a desire to explore further the pros/cons of co-location.
- Travis Larrier, Thomas Darden and Mark Gleason reported on their trip to an education conference attended by all 15 Compact cities. At the conference, the Center for Research on Public Education provided each district with a “Snapshot” of its strengths and weaknesses with regard to operating as a portfolio district. Philadelphia’s strengths relative to other cities are in school accountability and public engagement. Mark Gleason attended a session on common enrollment that yielded a great level of detail from two cities that implemented common-enrollment systems just this year: Denver and New Orleans. The systems developed by these two cities will give the Enrollment & Student Data working group much to discuss.