FY 2009 Grant Award Recipients for the Technical Assistance for Student Assignment Plan

Grantee: Boston Public Schools Name of Project: Equity and Diversity: Developing a Student Assignment Plan for Boston Project Director: Michael Goar Contact Information: (617) 635-9643 Obligated Amount: $241,680.00

The Boston Public Schools will implement this project to redesign their existing student assignment plan and to ensure that all families have equitable access to a high quality education.The district will work with both student assignment and civil rights experts to review comparable school districts with relevant and successful student assignment plans that meet current legal requirements. The project objectives will be met through a three phase process of planning, community consultation, and developing implementation plans. The outcomes of this project will be the preparation, modification and adoption of a student assignment plan that can be approved by the Boston Public Schools Committee (school board) which (1) ensures equitable access to high quality educational services for all students in the district, (2) ensures diversity within and across classrooms and schools across the district, and (3) conforms to the relevant laws at the federal and state level.

Grantee: Champaign Community Unit School, District #4 (IL) Name of Project: Achieving Educational Equity through a Multi-faceted Socio-economic Student Assignment Plan Project Director: Sandra Duckworth Contact Information: (217)351-3701 Obligated Amount: $250,000.00

The Champaign Community Unit School plans to modify and implement a model “multi-faceted, socio-economic, controlled choice Student Assignment Plan” (SES-SAP) within a two-year project period. This project will create a fully implemented and school-board-approved SES-SAP by building the capacity of the district to provide equitable access to high-quality and high-performing schools regardless of a student’s race, income, or residential neighborhood; accommodating a high degree of parent-guardian rank order elementary school choice; and providing comprehensive third-party quantitative and qualitative project evaluation. A consultant will assess and recommend modifications of the current student assignment plan and advise on creating system interoperability between the student assignment software and the district’s student information system.

Grantee: Evangeline Parish School Board (LA) Name of Project: Evangeline Parish School Board Magnet Schools Program Project Director: Darwan T. Lazard Contact Information: (337) 363-6653 Obligated Amount: $205,212.00

The project aims to increase the participation and desegregation effectiveness of the magnet school component of the Evangeline Parish School Board’s (EPSB) current voluntary student assignment plan that encompasses magnet school designs at two EPSB high schools. EPSB will work with a coordinator who will survey stakeholders and use the data to design program changes that will address current weaknesses and program offerings. The EPSB has identified the following program objectives in order to determine program success: (1) strengthening the magnet program by identifying programs that attract students and meet the needs of the student, community-at-large, and the business community; (2) developing and establishing a fair and enforceable magnet selection policy; and (3) building community and student support that increase student retention.

Grantee: Hillsborough County Public Schools (FL) Name of Project: Model of Assignment Planning for Students Project Director: Steven Ayers Contact Information: (813) 272-4086 Obligated Amount: $250,000.00

The Hillsborough County Public schools will use the Model of Assignment Planning for Students (MAPS) project to target the district’s 46 middle schools in order to improve student assignment planning. Teachers, parents, and community leaders will all share a role in each step of the process, in order to ensure a variety of perspectives in the decision making process. Project MAPS has four objectives that will result in the development of baseline analytics and metrics to serve as benchmarks to track progress, a middle school pilot model, and an approved model available for district-wide student assignment planning.

Grantee: Jefferson County Board of Education (KY) Name of Project: No Retreat: Jefferson County Public Schools Commitment to Desegregation Project Director: Pat Todd Contact Information: (502) 485-6250 Obligated Amount: $249,997.00

The Jefferson County Board of Education approved a new student assignment plan in May 2008 that is being implemented in elementary schools during the 2009-2010 school year and will be implemented in county middle and high schools the following year. The district will implement this plan for lasting integration by pursuing the following objectives: (1) filling all elementary magnet school programs to capacity with a balance of students; (2) reducing the number of kindergarten and first grade transfer requests; (3) reducing the number of magnet/cluster applications submitted after the enrollment deadline and the number of applications completed incorrectly; and (4) developing a tracking and reporting system for student transfer requests at all levels that will assist staff in identifying trends, strengths, and areas for improvement in the student assignment process. The Board of Education will hire a Parent Assistance Specialist to provide information and strategies to parents and families regarding the review and selection of magnet programs. A web-based data system will also be developed in order to improve the accuracy and efficiency of implementing the student assignment plan.

Grantee: The School Board of Orange County (FL) Name of Project: District-wide Rezoning Project Project Director: Andrew DeCandis Contact Information: (407) 317-3974 Obligated Amount: $205,259.00

This project aims to provide the school board and district staff with technical assistance to negotiate a unitary status agreement with the plaintiffs in the school district’s 30 year old court ordered desegregation plan and develop a district-wide student assignment plan and student assignment policies needed to implement unitary status. The plan will address identified needs and legal requirements for the district to achieve unitary status and develop appropriate feeder patterns for students within the PreK-12 system. The project will focus on four objectives: (1) negotiate with plaintiffs in the desegregation actions to develop an acceptable pupil plan that permits the District to achieve unitary status; (2) provide assistance to the Board in the consideration of issues and actions needed to achieve unitary status; (3) work with organizations that represent the interests of stakeholders, to garner input and recommendations for the final acceptable plan; (4) assist the Pupil Assignment office in the development of rezoning scenarios that support the achievement of unitary status; and (5) develop and implement a community information campaign ensuring that the goals, process and outcomes are reported accurately in the media.

Grantee: Rockford Public Schools District #205 (IL) Name of Project: Rockford Public Schools #205 Student Assignment Plan Project Director: Todd Schmidt Contact Information: (815) 966-3066 Obligated Amount: $214,872.00

The goal of this project is to seek and obtain school board approval to implement a modified student assignment plan developed by several stakeholders in order to correct inadequacies in the current plan. The new plan will address student diversity, be easily understood, clearly communicated, and will coordinate student assignment at levels PreK through grade 12. The project objectives include: (1) researching, identifying and evaluating inadequacies in the current assignment plan that may affect, or produce high-risk (truant, drop-out, non-graduate) students; (2) hiring an external evaluator and an expert in student assignment planning to support efforts to modify the existing plan, and (3) developing a coordinated PreK-12 student assignment plan that corrects existing inadequacies. The district will form a Student Assignment Workgroup, consisting of educational and community stakeholders, in order to gain input and decision making throughout the project.

Grantee: Saint Paul Public Schools, ISD #625 (MN) Name of Project: Large Scale System Changes II Project Director: Jill Cacy Contact Information: (651) 632-3730 Obligated Amount: $249,730.00

The St. Paul Public School district has implemented a voluntary student assignment plan based on school choice for over 40 years. Since the current plan is in need of significant revisions, the district has proposed a goal of successfully preparing, reviewing and adopting a voluntary student assignment plan that reduces racial isolation, creates higher quality academic options in all schools, and develops greater parent and community satisfaction and confidence in the system, as well as financial sustainability. The process to undertake this goal will be called Large Scale System Changes II. This project will build on a pre-established community engagement process and secure additional services in order to involve diverse stakeholders in the process. The district plans to fill in the gaps in the District’s capacity to conduct a successful process and effectively navigate the complex and political issues related to the School Choice system.

Grantee: San Diego Unified School District Name of Project: San Diego Technical Assistance for Student Assignment Plans Project Project Director: Roy MacPhail Project Contact Information: (619) 725-7370 Obligated Amount: $122,573.00

The San Diego Unified School District plans to eliminate student isolation based on race and ethnicity. The District will use grant funds to achieve the following goals: (1) analyze the potential of reducing possible re-segregation and minority student population isolation by redistricting neighborhood school attendance boundaries to achieve increased diversity; (2) maintain current student racial and ethnic diversity by developing new transportation schema to permit maintenance or specialized programs that provide voluntary attendance options within newly developed neighborhood attendance areas; (3) transferring, by the project’s end, the process, resources, and technology to the district’s instructional facilities planning department, magnet schools and enrollment options offices, and transportation departments to analyze voluntary student assignment plans and maintain significant levels of student population diversity at each of its schools. As a result of this project, the district plans to better meet the needs of the student population and build resources to eliminate or reduce racial and ethnic isolation within the district.

Grantee: San Francisco Unified School District Name of Project: SFUSD Student Assignment Redesign Project Director: Orla O’Keeffe Contact Information: (415) 241-6121 Obligated Amount: $250,000.00

The San Francisco Unified School District plans to modify its current student assignment plan in order to achieve the district’s long time goal of reducing racial isolation. The district will seek technical assistance from demographers and student assignment specialists in order to achieve the following project objectives: (1) creating and implementing effective community engagement strategies for use throughout the development and approval of a new student assignment plan; (2) designing and analyzing different student assignment options; (3) gaining approval of a new student assignment plan; (4) building the infrastructure to support the new student assignment plan and (5) implementing, monitoring, and evaluating outcomes and developing recommendations to address any unintended consequences of the new plan.

Grantee: School District 1J Multnomah County (OR) Name of Project: The Technical Assistance for Student Assignment Plans in Portland Project Director: Sarah Singer Contact Information: (503) 916-2000 Obligated Amount: $249, 977.00

This project will create a partnership between district staff, stakeholders, and technical assistance providers in order to develop legally sustainable, voluntary student assignment plans for the Portland (OR) Public Schools. The district will address key issues of racial segregation, isolation based on ethnicity, socio-economic status, and special program assignment such as Special Education and English as a Second Language (ESL). The following four project objectives will drive the work of the district in order to modify and implement student assignment plans: (1) reconfiguring feeder patterns to enhance diversity; (2) ensuring that district magnet schools embody the diversity of the district as a whole. (3) modifying the existing student assignment plan, and (4) building district capacity to engage community partners and maximize external supports to sustain responsive diversity planning policies and practice into the future by increasing the district’s internal capacity to conduct ongoing testing and calibration of program trends.