From SchoolBook by Patricia Willens:
In her second major policy speech, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Wednesday laid out her vision for a "new era" in the New York City public school system, and introduced a new system for evaluating school performance.

Speaking at P.S. 503/P.S. 506 in Brooklyn, she unveiled two tools: the School Quality Snapshot, and the School Quality Guide. The snapshot is tailored to parents while the more data-heavy guide is for school leaders.

“We are looking beyond test scores and focusing on making sure that each school has what it needs for sustained and continuous growth. And we have developed a framework that mirrors the essential elements we see in schools that continually improve," she said.

The framework eliminates the A-F school grading system employed by the Bloomberg administration in favor of six measurements of high-achieving schools: rigorous instruction, supportive environment, collaborative teachers, effective school leadership, strong family-community ties, and trust. It uses state test scores but as one of many criteria.

Fariña said the approach was developed in consultation with over a thousand school leaders, parents and experts throughout the country.

"This is a new era in education in New York City," she added."We are no longer forcing change on people, we’re creating change with people."

Mayor Bill de Blasio applauded the move. "The framework announced by Chancellor Fariña today is going to support schools and raise achievement. It’s a coherent set of standards proven to lead to better educational outcome,” he said.

The new approach will be used this school year, and the school survey has been revised to reflect the changes. Instead of overall grades, the revised School Quality Snapshot and School Quality Guide will include information about key areas of school quality:
  1. Quality Review: a formal evaluation of the school by an experienced educator who visited the school, observed classrooms, and spoke with parents, students and school leaders
  2. Student Progress: for elementary and middle schools, student improvement on the State tests in English and math, compared to other students who scored at the same level last year; for high schools, progress students make towards graduation by accumulating credits and passing Regents exams
  3. Student Achievement: for elementary and middle schools, student performance on the State tests in English and math and course pass rates (middle school only); for high schools, graduation rates after four and six years
  4. School Environment: parent, student and teacher satisfaction levels with the school’s learning environment, as reported in the NYC School Survey, as well as student attendance
  5. Closing the Achievement Gap: significant gains with English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and students who scored in the lowest third citywide on State tests last year; movement of students with disabilities into environments with non-disabled peers
  6. College and Career Readiness: for high schools, student readiness for college and careers, based on their achievements in high school and their outcomes after leaving high school
Reaction from the education and business communities was positive.

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