SAN DIEGO CITY SCHOOLS Office of the Superintendent

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1 SAN DIEGO CITY SCHOOLS Office of the Superintendent APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL OF THE PETITION AND CHARTER FOR THE KWACHIIYOA CHARTER SCHOOL June 24, 2003 Introductory Statement Representatives of the Kwachiiyoa Charter School have submitted an application to the Board of Education for the approval of the school s petition and charter. Background On September 9, 1997, the Board of Education approved the original petition and charter for the Kwachiiyoa Charter School. On August 8, 2002 the Board of Education approved an extension of the Kwachiiyoa Charter School charter. The school s charter expired on January 14, On May 6, 2003 representatives of the Kwachiiyoa Charter School submitted a charter petition to the district to continue operation of the school through On May 27, 2003 the board held a first reading to gauge the level of public support for the charter. The submitted petition states that the school will be a K-8 school with a maximum enrollment of approximately 540 students. The school has been in operation as a K-8 school since the school year and has a current enrollment of approximately 200 students. The school targets for recruitment students who reside within the attendance boundaries of Crawford High School and Hoover High School. The school is currently participating in the Immediate Intervention Underperforming Schools Program (II/USP). Kwachiiyoa Charter School seeks to be an arm-of-the-district charter school and would abide by all collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the district and its collective bargaining units. Kwachiiyoa Charter School seeks to remain part of the district s SELPA and would purchase services from the district consistent with the Charter School MOU. The submitted petition states the school has identified four principles which would guide the implementation of the charter: 1) High Student Achievement calling, among other things, for the adoption of the nine principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools; 2) Teacher Development calling, among other things, for the adoption of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as the model for teaching practice; 3) Community Participation calling, among other things, for community members to serve as mentors and tutors to the school s students; and 4) Professional Development School calling for the school to collaborate with San Diego State University (SDSU) College of Education to design and implement a collaborative professional development program that reflects current research on best teaching practices. The submitted petition includes an unsigned draft Memorandum of Understanding between the school and the SDSU College of Education. Since submitting their charter petition, representatives of the school have informed district staff that there is no formal agreement between the school and SDSU to form the professional development program described in the charter.

2 Page 2 The Kwachiiyoa petition states that the school s curriculum will address the California Content Standards adopted by the California State Board of Education. The school s curriculum is structured around five academic performance levels equivalent to the range of nine performance levels contained within a traditional K-8 program. Students are promoted from one academic performance level to the next by successfully completing an exhibition process. The petition states that the school would comply with all state assessment requirements that are applicable to charter schools. Although Kwachiiyoa Charter School has been in operation for nearly four years, the current application is technically a new charter petition. Staff have reached this conclusion because: 1) the school s charter has expired and there is no provision in law allowing for the renewal of an expired charter; and 2) the absence of the sponsorship of the San Diego Education Association (SDEA) is a fundamental departure from the school s original charter. These facts notwithstanding, staff have taken into account the school s record of academic performance during the prior chartering period in order to determine whether the petitioners are demonstrably likely to successfully implement the charter. Consistent with Education Code and the district s Charter School Policy and Guidelines, staff have evaluated the application to determine whether the school has: 1) Improved pupil learning. 2) Increased learning opportunities for all pupils, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for pupils who are identified as academically low achieving. 3) Encouraged the use of different and innovative teaching methods. 4) Created new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site. 5) Expanded choices for students and parents/guardians in the types of educational opportunities available within the district. Following staff s review of the petition, any objections to the proposed charter, or revisions recommended by staff will be communicated to the petitioners. 6) Operated in a fiscally sound manner. 7) Complied with all applicable laws. 8) Complied with the terms of the original charter Consistent with the district s Charter School Policy and Guidelines, staff met formally with the petitioners on May 20, 2003 to discuss the charter school petition. The individuals in attendance at that meeting were as follows: Representing Kwachiiyoa Charter School Christie Gifford Joey Grzenia Shanna Thomas Teresa Dalton John Erickson (external evaluator)

3 Page 3 Representing the district Ruth Peshkoff (Human Resources Department) Jose Gonzales (Office of General Counsel) Jennifer White (Institute for Learning Literacy) Shelley Ferguson (Institute for Learning Mathematics) Cathy Walsh (Budget Department) Karen Bachofer (Office of Standards, Assessment and Accountability) Jed Wallace (Office of the Superintendent) Following that meeting, staff provided the petitioners with direction regarding how the proposed petition could be improved. The petitioners subsequently submitted additional materials in support of their charter petition, and those materials have been reviewed by district staff. Having completed the evaluation process, staff recommend denial of the petition based upon the findings that: 1) the charter school presents an unsound education program for the pupils to be enrolled in the charter school [E.C (b)(1)]; and 2) that the petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition. [E.C (b)(2)] These findings are supported by the following facts: 1) Academic achievement at Kwachiiyoa Charter School has been unacceptably low during the prior charter term. With overall and similar schools API decile rankings in 2002 of 1, Kwachiiyoa Charter School is the lowest performing elementary school in the district. No other elementary school scheduled for operation in the school year has overall and similar schools API rankings of 1, and only one elementary school has a 2002 API base lower than Kwachiiyoa s API base of 529. Kwachiiyoa missed both school wide and subgroup growth targets in Similar poor academic results were reported in 2000 and 2001 when Kwachiiyoa received for both years an overall API decile ranking of 1 and a similar schools API decile ranking of 3. The school missed subgroup targets in The petitioners have submitted data purporting to provide evidence that the school s students have made acceptable levels of academic growth in the school year. Staff from Standards, Assessment and Accountability Division have reviewed the submitted data and have concluded that the data do not provide compelling evidence that academic achievement is improving satisfactorily. The data provided is data from the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test (SDRT), which is a basic skills test that provides classroom teachers diagnostic information about students strengths and weaknesses in reading only. SDRT results are not a comprehensive measure of a school s overall performance. Information about student performance in mathematics, science and social science was not provided.

4 Page 4 2) The petitioners have not submitted alterations to Element 1 of the original charter that demonstrate that the petitioners would be able to improve pupil learning in the requested charter term. Given the finding above, it is evident that the instructional program included in the original charter petition is not satisfactory. In order to recommend continued operation of the Kwachiiyoa Charter School, district staff would, at minimum, need to see evidence that the petitioners have reviewed their instructional program and have made the necessary changes to Element 1 of the original charter. The submitted charter does not substantially change the focus, resources, curriculum, or methodology for the delivery of instruction. As such, staff fail to see how the proposed instructional program will deliver student outcomes in the requested charter term that will be significantly better than the unacceptable student outcomes described above. 3) The school no longer has the sponsorship of SDEA and the partnership with San Diego State University (SDSU), and the school has not identified other sponsors or partners that would support successful implementation of the charter. The original charter petition called for the SDEA to play a significant role in the operation of the charter school, including assigning members to serve on the school s governance board and contributing to personnel decisions. In March of 2003, the petitioners submitted a charter petition that stated that SDEA would remain a sponsor of the school. Soon thereafter, the petitioners informed district staff that the SDEA had informed Kwachiiyoa that it no longer intended to sponsor the school. In recent discussions with district staff, the petitioners have provided evidence that the SDEA had little or no involvement in the operations of the school in the prior chartering term. The original charter petition also called for the Kwachiiyoa Charter School to collaborate with SDSU College of Education to design and implement a collaborative professional development program that would reflect current research on best teaching practices. The petitioners have provided evidence that the described collaboration between Kwachiiyoa and SDSU has not materialized. SDSU has provided student teachers to the school, but there has been very little, if any, formal interaction between the faculty and administration of SDSU College of Education and the faculty of Kwachiiyoa. The submitted petition includes an unsigned draft Memorandum of Understanding between the school and the SDSU College of Education. Since submitting their charter petition, representatives of the school have informed district staff that there is no formal agreement between the school and SDSU to form the professional development program described in the charter. Because the involvement of SDEA and SDSU was one of the primary reasons for Board of Education approval of the original charter petition, because the described involvement of these two organizations has not materialized in the prior chartering term, because the organizations have indicated that they will not be sponsors or partners in the requested charter term, because the petitioners have failed to identify other sponsors or partners that would support implementation of the charter, and because the prior track record of poor academic performance clearly indicates that the school will need the assistance of highly-capable partners in order to improve student achievement, staff cannot recommend approval of the current charter petition.

5 Page 5 4) The school has not submitted evidence that it will have the school leadership necessary to ensure that the school s teachers will have the capacity to deliver an instructional program that will improve pupil learning. During the first three years of Kwachiiyoa Charter School operations, district staff s interactions with the school revealed that the school had failed to maintain adequate financial records and adhere to commonly accepted accounting practices. The lack of school leadership clearly contributed to this breakdown of fiscal control and to the failure of the school s academic program. Upon removal of the original school director, the school was unable to hire a qualified school director to lead the school. It was therefore decided that three lead teachers would, on top of their classroom responsibilities, assume responsibility for the administrative and fiscal functions of the school. These teachers have spent many hours correcting the past administrative shortcomings of the school and have worked admirably to ensure that the school remains fiscally solvent. However, the school has still been unable to hire a school director through the entire school year, and it remains unclear whether the school would be able to recruit capable leadership in the requested charter term. During staff s discussion with the petitioners on May 20, 2003, it was clear to staff that, without significantly improved school leadership, the school s teachers will have great difficulty developing the capacity to deliver an instructional program that will improve pupil learning. If the Kwachiiyoa Charter School petition is denied, the district will provide enrollment options to the current students of Kwachiiyoa, will place Kwachiiyoa employees entitled to employment in openings at district schools as opportunities become available, and will retake direct control of the Cleveland Elementary School facility. If the board of education denies the charter petition, the petitioners may, as stated in Education Code 47605(d)(2)(j), submit the petition for the establishment of a charter school to the county board of education. Instructional Program Implications Denial of the charter petition will impact instruction at sites where current Kwachiiyoa Charter School students will attend for next school year. With board action occurring during a timeframe too late for parents to apply for the various enrollment options, staff will take additional steps in providing options to the parents of displaced students. Students displaced from Kwachiiyoa will be granted preferential enrollment at the Voluntary Ethnic Enrollment Program (VEEP) school(s) associated with the student's school of residence. Students whose school of residence does not have an associated VEEP option will be provided enrollment at the school of residence. All students will have the option of the school of residence and all schools of residence have sufficient capacity available to serve students displaced from Kwachiiyoa. Attachment B lists the schools of residence of current Kwachiiyoa students and the VEEP receiving schools associated with those resident schools. The district s instructional program will also be affected by the fact that approximately eight Kwachiiyoa Charter School teachers will be entitled to return to employment within district schools if the charter school will not be in operation in the school year. Teachers entitled to return to employment within district schools will not be eligible for post and bid opportunities because the deadline to participate in post and bid has already passed. The district s Human Resources Department will, therefore, place Kwachiiyoa employees entitled to employment as opportunities become available.

6 Page 6 Facilities Implications Kwachiiyoa Charter School is currently operating within the former Cleveland Elementary School campus. Should the board deny the Kwachiiyoa charter petition, the district would retake direct control of the Cleveland facility and would begin deliberations to determine the best use for the site. Budget Implications A charter school may elect to receive its general purpose entitlement and block grant funds directly from the state or through the sponsoring school district. Kwachiiyoa has in the past chosen to receive its funding directly from the state. In addition, a sponsoring school district must annually transfer to each of its charter schools the school s prescribed share of property taxes. Should the Kwachiiyoa Charter School not continue operations, the district would receive the Average Daily Attendance funding for all of displaced students who return to attend district-managed schools in the school year. The district would also not be required to transfer to the charter school account the school s prescribed share of property taxes. The district would then become directly responsible for providing instruction to students returning to attend district-managed schools. With the exception of an anticipated reduction in overflow transportation costs, it is anticipated that the additional costs incurred by the district providing instruction to students displaced from Kwachiiyoa will equal the additional revenues the district will receive. Should the Kwachiiyoa Charter School charter not continue operations, overflow transportation to Kwachiiyoa would be ended resulting in a savings of $21,000 to the district. Public Support and Engagement Implications On May 27, 2003 the board held a first reading to gauge the level of public support for the charter. If the petition is denied, parents of current Kwachiiyoa students will be notified in August of their enrollment options for the school year. Board Policy Implications Denial of a charter petition, where warranted, is consistent with existing Board of Education policy contained in H Recommendation The Board of Education has three options: 1) approve the charter petition as now presented; 2) approve the charter petition on such conditions as may be prescribed by the Board of Education; or 3) deny the charter petition. The superintendent recommends that the charter petition be denied. Report prepared by Chief of Staff, Terrance L. Smith /jmw Attachment A: Kwachiiyoa Charter School Petition and Charter Attachment B: Student/resident school information for current Kwachiiyoa Charter school students

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