School Performance Compact

The goal of the School Performance Compact is to establish a transparent and consistent policy to identify and designate for restart or closure the most persistently low-performing schools, to ensure that all students have access to high quality schools that prepare them to succeed.

How are the SPC guidelines changing for the 2018-19 school year?

The DPS Board of Education determined that the current School Performance Compact (SPC) policy guidelines will not be applied for the 2018-19 school year, based on its reflections on past learnings and given the community conversations that will soon launch.

These community conversations are intended to deepen DPS’ thinking about what student and school success looks like and how the district should design support and accountability structures with those factors in mind, both for schools and central teams, so the board felt it was important to adjust the guidelines while engaging in a deep listening process. We have heard from our community about the importance of these conversations and we look forward to hearing community views.

How will the policy be implemented in the fall of 2018?

The broad guidelines for policy implementation will be:

-- Schools (both charter and district-run) that are rated red on the 2018 SPF will present to the board regarding their ongoing or planned improvement
strategies and their planned or needed supports, along with a presentation of their improvement goals over time.
-- The district will provide a data dashboard for each red school (both charter and district-run) that includes culture and operational data, along with
academic data.
-- The Portfolio Management Team will complete the regularly-scheduled renewal process for all charter schools whose contracts are up for renewal in
2018-19.
-- Sharp declines in the number of school-aged children in certain areas of our city are expected to continue, so enrollment considerations will continue to
play a role in the board’s decisions about schools, as recommended by the Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative.
-- DPS will continue to work to ensure schools have healthy enrollment that makes it possible to offer students robust programming in a manner that
promotes greater socioeconomic integration.

How have past SPC restart or closure decisions been made?

DPS carefully reviews two aspects of each school’s performance:

Young girl in fancy dress sits on the reading rug; smiles at the camera.
  • We review each school’s School Performance Framework ratings from the most recent three years. Schools will be considered under the policy if they were rated:
    • Red in the current year AND red the previous year (back-to-back red) OR
    • Red in the current year AND orange or red the previous two years
  • Note: A school must have a minimum of three SPF ratings to be considered. Schools that were rated green or blue in 2014 will not be considered under the 2017 School Performance Compact, even with back-to-back red ratings.
  • We pay close attention to how much students have improved academically from one year to the next.
  • We continue to review schools for the School Performance Compact if they earn 50% or fewer growth points in the most recent year’s School Performance Framework.

What is the difference between restart and closure?

In a restart, DPS will work with the community to find a new, high-quality school to serve students in the same building. In nearly every case, a student will have to option to continue at that school building, but a new team of educators will take over responsibility for leading the school.

DPS would only consider a school closure, rather than a restart, if the school did not have enough enrollment demand to be financially sustainable and there is adequate space at higher-quality schools elsewhere in the neighborhood. If a school is designated for closure, the current students would be given priority enrollment at other neighboring schools during the upcoming SchoolChoice process.

Guiding Principles

Four key principles form the foundation of the School Performance Compact:

Accountability Across Governance Type

We believe that all DPS students deserve high-quality schools that prepare them to graduate college and career ready.

Transparency

We believe that DPS should provide a clear and transparent process for designating persistently low-performing schools for restart or closure. The process of designation should be objectively and consistently applied across all schools.

Equity

We are committed to preserving equity of responsibility, accountability and opportunity across all schools.

Engagement with Communities and Families

We are committed to educating and informing school communities about the process for designating schools for restart or closure. Together with school communities, we share the responsibility for reviewing applicants and recommending matches to the Superintendent and Denver Board of Education.