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School Improvement RFP of the Week (2)

Contracts to Turn Around New Orleans' Failing Schools

From the January 28 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report

Nationwide search for groups interested in partnering with the department to reform public schools Due February 15 (Jan 24) Louisiana Department of Education

Their Description: The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is interested in identifying potential companies... that may be interested in operating persistently failing Louisiana public schools....

As of January 1, 2008, 11 schools have been labeled as Academically Unacceptable Schools for four or more consecutive years. These schools... are eligible for transfer to the jurisdiction of the Recovery School District. At this time, the Department has not made a determination about which, if any, schools will be transferred. Those decisions will be made in the coming months.... Additionally.... Two districts are currently “Academically in Crisis” and have the potential of having all schools below the state average transferred to the RSD for the 2008-09 school year.... dependent upon School Performance Schools released after Spring 2008 testing....

Eligible Respondents:

• Private Sector (for-profit and non-profit) Educational Management Organizations seeking to partner with Louisiana non-profit corporations....
• Charter School Operators....
• Other companies or organizations that have a prior history of operating a successful K-12 public school....

Management Expectations:

1. Create an operating strategy that reflects the characteristics of a highly effective school:
a. create a climate where the highest expectations are set....
b. strong leadership by all administrators
c. clearly stated and focused mission
d. high level of student time-on-task
e. frequent monitoring of student progress (to include designing specific
plans for individual students who are performing below grade level in reading and math)
f. provide remediation for struggling students and enrichment activities for
successful students during and after regular school days
g. safe and orderly climate
h. positive home/school relationship

2. Implement an educational delivery system that is not “status quo” and reflects a proven method of improving student achievement.

3. Applications should seek to address innovative strategies that will impact overall achievement and serve as models for potential replication.

4. Align fiscal and human resources with the school improvement plan to ensure maximum leverage of all resources are focused on targeted improvement activities, rather than random acts of improvement, to increase student achievement.

5. Provide research-based professional development grounded in student achievement data to help ensure teachers receive training in needed areas. Ensure each teacher’s individualized professional development plan is based on strategies and activities to increase student achievement, especially in the areas of reading and math.

6. Hire highly effective principals, teachers, and staff with demonstrated ability to improve student achievement.

7. Build strong partnerships with parents, community organizations and local businesses. Actively seek the support of the school community and engage the community in the school improvement process.

8. Operate all aspects of the school.

My Thoughts:
EMOs and CMOs have a tough business as it is, but the sector’s growth lies in the nation’s worst-performing schools. This bunch may be the toughest of the tough challenges, yet there is a ready, willing and able buyer. Here is “where the fish are.” Go for it. ••••

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