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Alliance District Letter 5-25

Alliance District Letter 5-25

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Published by: ValleyIndyDotOrg on Jun 01, 2012
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Superintendents of Alliance Districts
Stefan Pryor, Commissioner of Education
Chief Elected Municipal Officials of Alliance DistrictsBoard of Education Chairs of Alliance Districts
May 25, 2012
Alliance District Provisions of Education Reform LegislationSection 34 of Senate Bill 458, which was signed into law by Governor Malloy last week,establishes a process for identifying thirty Alliance Districts
the districts with the lowestdistrict performance index scores statewide
and allocates to these districts $39.5 million inincreased Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
Each district’s receipt of its designated allocation is conditioned upon
district submission, andState Department of Education approval, of an application that includes a plan for theexpenditure of this new increment of conditional funds
in the context of the district’s overall
strategy to improve academic achievement.The State Board of Education will likely issue formal guidelines at an upcoming meeting thatwill enable the Department to finalize the approval process. In the interim, the Department isproviding the preliminary information in this letter
which the state Board may modify
toprovide districts the opportunity to begin to formulate their plans. We anticipate producing anddistributing a final application to Alliance Districts in the coming weeks.
Please note that this funding, unlike the rest of the ECS grant, will be disbursed directlyto school districts, and not to municipalities.
The Department will likely require that districts reserve the substantial majority of conditional funding for new reform efforts, or the extension of existing reform efforts,that are specifically designed to improve student achievement.
Alliance District designations are for a five-year period. Subject to future year budgets,appropriations, and determinations, it is anticipated that the funds allocated for reformefforts in the Alliance Districts will continue in future years. District plans should coverfive years of reform activity.
Districts must include specific, multi-year objectives and performance targets in theirplans. Alliance Districts may qualify for future years of program funding based uponsuccessful attainment of these metrics.
P.O. Box 2219
Hartford, Connecticut 06145
 An Equal Opportunity Employer 
Alliance District Provisions of Education Reform LegislationMay 25, 2012Page 2
Pursuant to
proposed NCLB waiver request, which is pending approval bythe United States Department of Education, each
plan must include strategiesfor differentiated, tiered support and interventions for district schools, with the mostintensive interventions in the lowest performing schools. While each plan must includethis tiered approach, it is not required that districts apply conditional funding in supportof these strategies. (Use of conditional funds for this purpose, however, is likely to beviewed favorably by the Department. Such use of funds may include school redesign andturnaround activity.)
District plans should demonstrate collaboration with key stakeholders.
Education reform activities may include elements from the list provided in statute:
Ways to strengthen the foundational programs in reading to ensure readingmastery in kindergarten to grade three, inclusive, with a focus on standards andinstruction, proper use of data, intervention strategies, current information forteachers, parental engagement, and teacher professional development;
Additional learning time, including extended school day or school yearprogramming administered by school personnel or external partners;
A talent strategy that includes, but is not limited to, teacher and school leaderrecruitment and assignment, career ladder policies that draw upon guidelines for amodel teacher evaluation program adopted by the State Board of Education,pursuant to section 10-151b of the general statutes, and adopted by each local orregional board of education. Such talent strategy may include provisions thatdemonstrate increased ability to attract, retain, promote and bolster theperformance of staff in accordance with performance evaluation findings and, inthe case of new personnel, other indicators of effectiveness;
Training for school leaders and other staff on new teacher evaluation models;
Provisions for the cooperation and coordination with early childhood educationproviders to ensure alignment with district expectations for student entry intokindergarten, including funding for an existing local Head Start program;
Provisions for the cooperation and coordination with other governmental andcommunity programs to ensure that students receive adequate support andwraparound services, including community school models.In addition to the plan components listed above, the Department encourages school districts tothink creatively to combine conditional funding with other resources, to leverage the attraction of additional resources, or to find innovative ways to use the conditional funding efficiently todesign their school reform programs.Districts opting to build upon existing district improvement plans should provide evidence of why such approach would improve student achievement. Likewise, districts choosing to launchnew reforms should provide information on why the new strategy is likely to succeed.
Alliance District Provisions of Education Reform LegislationMay 25, 2012Page 3Our anticipated timeline is as follows:
June 6, 2012:
State Board of Education approves guidelines for the administration of Alliance District funding
Week of June 11, 2012:
State Department of Education hosts an informational forumwhere the application will be distributed and discussed
By August 15, 2012:
Applications may be submitted for approval to the DepartmentAs part of the SDE plan approval process, the Commissioner of Education may appoint acommittee to review the thirty Alliance District plans. We expect that this process will becooperative and iterative with districts.The Department is ready to help. The primary contact for this project:Lol Fearon, Bureau Chief: (860) 713-6705, lol.fearon@ct.gov  We believe that the Alliance District program will help districts raise student performance andassist in closing the achievement gap. We look forward to working with you to implement thisprovision of Senate Bill 458.

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