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Morgan Appeal Fact Sheet

Morgan Appeal Fact Sheet

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Published by Mary Serreze
The Holyoke Teachers Association appeals aspects of a state decision to put the Morgan Elementary School into receivership. (Massachusetts.)
The Holyoke Teachers Association appeals aspects of a state decision to put the Morgan Elementary School into receivership. (Massachusetts.)

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Published by: Mary Serreze on Jun 03, 2014
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12/09/2014

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Polyoke LducaLors Ask 8LSL Lo Change Morgan 1urnaround Þlan

LducaLlon Commlssloner MlLchell ChesLer named Lhe Morgan lull Servlce CommunlLy School ln Polyoke
a Level 3 ºchronlcally underperformlng" school on CcLober 30, 2013. Pe laLer appolnLed Lhe 1exas-
based company Þro[ecL C8Au uSA as Lhe school's recelver. Morgan wlll be Þro[ecL C8Au's flrsL aLLempL
aL Lurnlng around a k-8 school.
1he commlssloner released a flnal Lurnaround plan for Lhe school on Aprll 18, 2104. 1he Polyoke
1eachers AssoclaLlon flled an appeal wlLh Lhe 8oard of LlemenLary and Secondary LducaLlon on May 19
seeklng modlflcaLlons. An appeal hearlng wlll be held on !une 9. Whlle Lhe commlssloner ls responslble
for creaLlng Lhe plan, 8LSL ls ulLlmaLely responslble for Lhe quallLy of educaLlon provlded ln Lhls and
oLher Level 3 schools.
Morgan ls Lhe fourLh pooresL school ln Lhe sLaLe: 98 percenL of lLs 400 sLudenLs are ellglble for !"## lunch
and nearly half (47 percenL) are Lngllsh language learners. uesplLe Lhese challenges, Morgan sLudenL
MCAS scores were rlslng beLween 2008 and 2010. noLably, Lhe scores Look a downward Lurn afLer Lhe
sLaLe lnLervened and deslgnaLed Morgan a Level 4 school ln 2010. 1haL lnLervenLlon colnclded wlLh
slgnlflcanL Leacher Lurnover. 1he P1A ls greaLly concerned LhaL Lhe commlssloner's Level 3 plan for Lhe
Morgan wlll lead Lo even more Lurnover, creaLlng lnsLablllLy for sLudenLs who have Lhe greaLesL need
for sLablllLy and Lo be LaughL by experlenced Leachers. Cnce Lhe commlssloner's plan was released, only
7 of 43 Morgan Leachers reapplled for Lhelr [obs. We belleve LhaL Lhe onerous worklng condlLlons, Lop-
down managemenL sLyle, lack of aLLenLlon Lo lnsLrucLlonal prlorlLles, and lack of a clearly reasoned plan
Lo address Lhe needs of Morgan's sLudenLs wlll lead Lo conLlnued Lurnover of sLaff ln Lhls school.
We are also deeply concerned LhaL so much of Lhe Lurnaround funds allocaLed Lo Lhe school wlll
be golng Lo pay Lhe managemenL fee for Þro[ecL C8Au and Lo fund oLher ouLslde vendors and new
admlnlsLraLlve poslLlons raLher Lhan dlrecLly addresslng presslng needs of Lhe sLudenLs.
!"#$#%&'
• !)*+*,)+- .-+*. 1he AchlevemenL Cap AcL mandaLes LhaL Level 3 plans lnclude a deLalled
flnanclal plan. 1he commlssloner's flnanclal plan ls vague and lacklng ln deLall, conLalnlng no
llne-lLem budgeL arLlculaLlng how funds wlll be spenL. 1he M1A had Lo flle a publlc records
requesL Lo flnd ouL how Lhe money wlll be allocaLed, and was concerned Lo learn LhaL Lhe
commlssloner had had lnformaLlon abouL how Lhe monles wlll be allocaLed LhaL was never made
avallable Lo Lhe Local SLakeholders Croup. WhaL we learned was alarmlng. lor example, Lhe
budgeL allocaLes $200,000 Lo Þro[ecL C8Au for a ManagemenL lee for ºplannlng" plus a $30,000
paymenL Lo Lhe Þro[ecL C8Au pro[ecL dlrecLor for acLlvlLles from !anuary - !une - Lhls ln a
school LhaL has losL 7 Leachers over Lhe pasL Lhree years and where lnsufflclenL resources affecL
classrooms every day. Also, Þro[ecL C8Au has requesLed for school year 2014-13 a managemenL
fee of $330,000 plus a salary Lo a Þro[ecL ulrecLor of $130,000. ln addlLlon Lo subsLanLlal sums
of publlc money for lLs own managemenL fees, Lravel fees and Þro[ecL ulrecLor salary over Lhe
Lhree -year Lerm of Lhe plan, Þro[ecL C8Au has requesLed hundreds of Lhousands be pald Lo
oLher consulLanLs Lo perform work aL Morgan.
"#$/&01$2& %133"%1415 $#/ "#'231%2"6# 3&'613%&' $#/ 73683$5'
• &4$ +*9 5+:;. uesplLe Morgan's low LesL scores ln LLA and maLh, Lhe commlssloner's plan
falls Lo ldenLlfy $%& speclflc sLandards, currlcula or sLraLegles Lo be used Lo lmprove sLudenL
achlevemenL ln Lhese sub[ecLs. Slnce Morgan ls Þro[ecL C8Au's flrsL elemenLary Lurnaround
school, Lhere ls a concern LhaL, desplLe belng rlchly compensaLed, C8Au ls unprepared Lo dellver
Lhe necessary educaLlon Lo Morgan's sLudenLs. 1he P1A recommends LhaL Lhe plan be modlfled
Lo lnclude speclflc sLraLegles and currlcula for LLA and maLh.
• &44 +*9 '7&/ <:=9>*:<. Llke LLA and MaLh, Lhe plan ls deflclenL ln Lhe areas of LLL and SÞLu.
1he plan does noL ldenLlfy meanlngful sLeps Lo address Lhe achlevemenL gaps for LLL sLudenLs
- an expllclL sLaLuLory requlremenL - desplLe Lhe Morgan's large LLL populaLlon. 1he plan ls
also sllenL regardlng speclflc resources LhaL wlll be uLlllzed Lo help sLudenLs wlLh dlsablllLles Lo
succeed. 1he P1A recommends LhaL plan lnclude lnformaLlon abouL speclflc sLraLegles LhaL wlll
be used Lo address Lhe needs of Lhese sLudenLs.
• 7?>@ .?AB?+C. 1hls year, only Lhree of Lhe nearly 60 sLudenLs enLerlng klndergarLen knew Lhelr
leLLers. Morgan Leachers and oLher sLakeholders agree LhaL Lhe slngle greaLesL need ls for a
sLrong, unlversally avallable prek program so LhaL Morgan sLudenLs arrlve aL school ready Lo
learn. 1he commlssloner's plan calls for a prek program, as well, buL only Lo be creaLed space-
permlLLlng - and space aL Lhe Morgan ls lacklng. 1he sLakeholders had an alLernaLlve plan LhaL
would have freed up space ln Lhe school. 1he commlssloner re[ecLed LhaL plan, so lL ls now
lncumbenL on Lhe commlssloner Lo ldenLlfy space or fundlng Lo renL new space for a prek
program. 1he P1A recommends LhaL a prek program be a requlred componenL of Lhe plan.
• D?+.+?A=*9 <>?E),><. 1he Morgan ls a ºfull servlce communlLy school" and lLs wraparound
soclal servlces and counsellng have been among Lhe school's success sLorles. unforLunaLely,
Lhe commlssloner's plan does noL endorse conLlnuaLlon of Lhe successful programs LhaL have
been lmplemenLed. 1he P1A recommends LhaL Lhe currenL wraparound servlces be conLlnued
ln Lhls plan '%(#)) Lhe commlssloner can offer a [usLlflcaLlon for why one or more of Lhe currenL
servlces should be dropped or replaced.
• %-+<< <)F>. Morgan has several large classes, lncludlng currenL klndergarLen and Crade 4 classes
wlLh 26-29 sLudenLs. 1he plan does noLhlng Lo addresses Lhls problem, even Lhough research
shows LhaL hlgh-need sLudenLs, ln parLlcular, beneflL academlcally from smaller class slzes. 1he
P1A recommends LhaL addlLlonal sLaff be hlred Lo ensure small class slzes ln grades k-3.
• ',;>9=->. 1he plan lacks a deLalled explanaLlon of whaL Lhe sLudenL or Leacher schedules wlll
lnclude, and Lhus lL ls lmposslble for Lhe sLakeholders or 8LSL members Lo deLermlne lf Lhe
planned use of Lhe Llme wlll lead Lo Lhe rapld academlc achlevemenL of sLudenLs. 1he P1A asks
for LhaL schedule deLalls be provlded by !une 13.
WC8klnC CCnul1lCnS
• 4AG>? ?+:> AH .+I E)A-+:>< :;> <:+:=:>. 1he plan requlres Leachers Lo work 31 percenL more
Llme - lncludlng slgnlflcanLly longer days and 10 [?] addlLlonal days per year - wlLhouL provldlng
falr compensaLlon for Lhose addlLlonal hours. ln facL, slnce so much money ls spenL on ouLslde
consulLanLs Lhe school ls noL lefL wlLh adequaLe resources Lo offer pay commensuraLe wlLh Llme
requlred. 1he resulL ls an unlawful neL reducLlon ln Lhe raLe of compensaLlon.
• /)<.=:> 3><A-=:)A*. 1he plan ellmlnaLes Lhe currenL collecLlvely bargalned grlevance procedure
and replaces lL wlLh a process LhaL glves ºsubsLanLlal deference" Lo Lhe recelver and deprlves
educaLors of a rlghL Lo have dlspuLes resolved by an lmparLlal Lhlrd parLy. 1he commlssloner
offers no raLlonale as Lo how deprlvlng Leachers of Lhelr due process rlghLs wlll lead Lo Lhe
rapld academlc achlevemenL of sLudenLs. 1he P1A recommends resLorlng Lhe falr and lmparLlal
process conLalned ln Lhe P1A conLracL.

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