Program Description (2016-2017)
The Contract for Excellence Program has been established by the New York State Department of Education to fund initiatives in schools that have been identified on the New York State Report Card as either being a School/District in Need of Improvement or a School Requiring Academic Progress. Districts must target funds to students with the greatest educational needs, including but not limited to students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency or who are English language learners, and students living in poverty, giving priority to schools serving concentrations of such students. The programs and activities that are implemented as part of the Contract for Excellence must be aligned with schools' achievement needs and have the greatest likelihood of positively impacting student achievement. They also must be used to address specific areas of the instructional program as defined by the state.
During the 2016-2017 year, Collaborative Coaches, Enrichment Specialists and Consultant Teachers will serve to increase Time on Task by provided targeted Academic Intervention services to identified students in need of further literacy and mathematical development. All students’ achievement will be addressed through measures of growth, providing instruction to those who are in need of academic support due to low performance, as well as those who need to be challenge to move beyond grade level expectations. Teacher and Principal Quality Improvement is largely at the elementary level being facilitated by the Collaborative Coaches and Enrichment Specialists, who will continue to provide professional development to teaching staff. They will serve as consultants/members of School Leadership Teams, providing expertise in data analysis and assessment review. Collaborative Coaches were instrumental in the redesign of district wide assessments and will be facilitating, with the assistance of the Enrichment Specialists, the design and implementation of ELA-based Common Core units of study, embedding Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Units of Study. Overall, dollars will be maintained in this area, with particular attention being paid to Teacher and Principal Quality Improvement as the district continues to support evaluation systems and Data-driven Inquiry.
Class Size Reduction will continue to be supported by C4E funds to ensure our K-5 classrooms are of optimal size. Reduced class sizes also supports the Academic Intervention Services that have been implemented at all levels, ensuring equal access to needed instruction. Overall, dollars previously maintained in this area will continue.
Middle School and High Restructuring efforts will continue to focus on supporting smaller learning communities. Professional Learning Communities at the Middle Schools, with the inclusion of Integrated Units of Study and Academic Intervention support, allows for school-based inquiry teams to identify and address students in need. Additionally, at the High School, Academic Intervention Services will be delivered through a collaborative approach with literacy and the arts. Academic Literacy and Art Teachers will partner to provide instruction that taps into higher level thinking, reading and writing skills utilizing a Visual Thinking Strategies curriculum and embedding the Reading Apprenticeship approach. A Social Worker, Psychologist and an Art teacher will continue to be supported at the High School to ensure that needed attention to sub-group populations and graduating cohorts is provided through guidance and enriched opportunities. Continued support for transitioning students into the 9th grade through teaming provides opportunities for students at risk of school failure to transition from 8th Grade to 9th grade within a supportive community. Overall, dollars maintained last year will continue.
Each of the new and innovative programs that have been selected will be adopting the practices that are outlined in the district’s Comprehensive Improvement plan for 2016-2017. The plan establishes benchmarks, measured and reported to the Board of Education quarterly, that assist staff in gauging their instruction, classroom practices, student progress and classroom goal setting.