February 3, 2012
- The Compact Committee had a tentative conversation about the various means for decreasing the number of low-performing seats by 5,000 in the upcoming school year, which is one of the objectives of the Compact. The District said it has numerous modification and expansion requests from charter schools, and that some of the seat reductions/replacements could come through approvals of those. The District also is preparing to review applications from charter operators for 2012 Renaissance schools. Charter representatives noted that the Compact includes a commitment to issue new charters as part of the strategy for replacing the 50,000 lowest performing seats over the next five years. It was agreed that this discussion should be tabled until the SRC can provide some sense of its thinking around the balancing of new and turnaround seats to achieve the seat-reduction and replacement goals of the Compact.
- Each of the working groups—Accountability, Enrollment & Student Data, Facilities, Shared Services and Talent Development—presented status updates and short-term plans of action:
- Accountability: working to align the city’s school performance framework with the state’s plan to develop “school report cards”; working to gain a better understanding of the differences between PVAAS and the District’s growth calculation.
- Enrollment & Student Data: anticipates doing a survey to better understand which opportunities for charter-district collaboration are of most interest to charters in these areas; is exploring the potential for development of a common enrollment system.
- Facilities: developing a survey to send to all charter schools regarding their level of interest in leasing or purchasing existing District facilities.
- Shared Services: developing a list of services that could be shared by or provided on a cost basis to all schools, with the twin goals of improving District and charter schools’ access to best-in-class services and realizing better economies of scale.
- Talent Development: exploring possible opportunities for district-charter collaboration for the purpose of attracting and developing great teaching and leadership talent.
- Charter members of the Committee noted that some charters are expressing frustration over SPI scores that were recently distributed to schools (based on 2010-11 student data). Thomas Darden of the District’s Charter Office communicated that the deadline for appeals to the preliminary SPI scores was Feb. 8. The District will respond to all appeals no later than Feb. 17. Final SPI scores for both District and charter schools will be released on Feb. 21.
- PSP noted that it is working on the initial draft of the concept paper that will be submitted to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Feb. 15 as part of Gates’ Compact RFP process. The concept paper is a five-page submission intended to preview the contents of a fuller grant proposal that will be due in the spring. PSP will use the Great Schools Compact as the outline for the concept paper and the topics identified by the working groups as examples of how district-charter collaboration will lead to an expansion of high-performing schools in Philadelphia.
The Compact Committee is an advisory committee charged with encouraging and facilitating collaboration between School District officials, District school leaders and charter school leaders in areas such as school accountability, streamlining enrollment practices, teacher and principal training, and access to best-in-class school services. To the extent the Committee chooses to make policy or funding recommendations, it will make them to the School Reform Commission.