What are Massachusetts “Level 4” Turnaround Schools?
Some of Massachusetts’ most persistently under-achieving schools are now eligible for additional federal aid and state support to bring about dramatic improvements in student achievement.
Recognizing that outstanding classroom instruction is the key to the success of these schools, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is working with nine school districts to recruit and hire excellent teachers to help lead school transformations.
The children in the 35 lowest-performing schools in the state urgently need schools and teachers that provide them with an excellent education to help them reach their full potential. Among the 17,000 students served in these Turnaround Schools:
- Most are racial and ethnic minorities;
- Nearly 9 out of 10 are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch based on family income;
- 21 percent are students with disabilities;
- 26 percent are English Language Learners.
The State released an initial list of 35 "Level 4" schools in March 2010. (Read the press release.) The identification of and quick intervention in Level 4 schools are made possible through the Commonwealth's new Education Reform Law, which was filed by Governor Deval Patrick and signed into law in January 2010. Under this law, the identified schools will develop redesign plans in collaboration with the Superintendent, School Committee, teachers' union, administrators, teachers, community representatives and parents.
The schools are now eligible for additional federal funds to support planning and implementation. In February, the U.S. Department of Education finalized regulations to allow states to offer competitive grants over the next three years to intervene in low-performing schools. Through this program, Massachusetts is eligible for an estimated $76 million over the next three years, which will be awarded to the districts.
We are seeking amazing teachers to help lead this historic effort to transform the educational experience of the children in Massachusetts’ lowest performing schools.