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State Board meeting wraps up: The end of Standard 6, the beginning of restart schools

The third day of the State Board of Education’s work session/monthly meeting saw the end of Standard 6 as a standalone teacher evaluation method. Standard 6 uses student growth scores as a measure to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers.

There has been a lot of confusion over what the end of Standard 6 actually means. Board member Eric Davis attempted to clarify the significance last Thursday.

“I want to make clear that these changes do not change our use of growth as an effective measure for determining how well our students are doing and for providing effective feedback to teachers,” he said.

Earlier in the week, Deputy State Superintendent Rebecca Garland also tried to clarify what the change will mean. “It’s sort of a nuanced response that we are going to have to work hard to make sure people understand. We will not be giving teachers on their own dashboard or on their own evaluation a rating or status of whether they are effective, highly effective, or in need of improvement. That will be between the principal and the teacher based on how the principal and the teacher incorporate and use growth across those standards.” See the video below for her explanation.

Board Chair Bill Cobey tried to spur some discussion on the end of Standard 6 Thursday.

“This is an important change. Does anybody want to make a comment or ask a question?” he asked.

But nobody else did.

Charter-like flexibility for public schools

The State Board gave preliminary approval to five low-performing schools seeking to try out a school model that would give them charter-like flexibility.

Schools that are low performing for two out of the last three consecutive years can apply for one of four innovative school reform models. All five schools approved last Thursday sought the “restart” model. Here is a description of that model from state statute 115C-105.37B:

Restart model, in which the State Board of Education would authorize the local board of education to operate the school with the same exemptions from statutes and rules as a charter school authorized under Article 14A of this Chapter, or under the management of an educational management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process. A school operated under this subdivision remains under the control of the local board of education, and employees assigned to the school are employees of the local school administrative unit with the protections provided by Part 3 of Article 22 of this Chapter.

The schools approved were:

  • Barwell Road Elementary (Wake County)
  • Walnut Creek Elementary (Wake County)
  • E.M. Rollins Elementary (Vance County)
  • Goldsboro High School (Wayne County)
  • Haw River Elementary (Alamance-Burlington)

The Board’s approval is preliminary, contingent on review by DPI staff. Board member Becky Taylor asked for this because of the speed with which the Board was having to move on these applications.

“It’s happening really quickly and we know we need to act quickly as well because we’re at the end of the school year and these pioneers need to get going and plan for their next few months,” she said.

DPI staff is to create a report based on its review of the applications and bring it back to the State Board in May for final approval on the applications.

Dropout Pilot

The Board had an extensive discussion over a Dropout Prevention and Recovery Pilot Program report to the General Assembly.

The Program is actually a school: Commonwealth High School in Charlotte, run by Charter Management Organization Accelerated Learning Solutions.

Board members raised extensive concerns over the funding of the program and the approval of similar schools outside of the “pilot.”

Here’s the report. See the discussion below:

Charter Odds and Ends

Kennedy Charter School appeared on the Board’s agenda again. The Charter School Advisory Board recommended not renewing the school’s charter in December, and the State Board accepted that recommendation in February. In late March, the decision went before a review panel, which recommended that the State Board stick with its decision not to renew Kennedy’s charter. Last week, the State Board voted to accept that recommendation.

See our coverage of Kennedy in this article and this article.

Here is the review panel’s recommendation. 

The Board also approved a policy change on who can be a board member of a charter school.

The new policy requires that “the majority of board members and 50% or greater of the board officers for a charter school must have their primary residence in NC.”

Alex Granados

Alex Granados is senior reporter for EducationNC.