REFERENCE TITLE: schools; parental intervention
State of Arizona
First Regular Session
Senators Murphy, Burges; Representatives Montenegro, Smith: Senators Melvin, Ward; Representatives Cardenas, Gray, Kwasman, Seel, Thorpe
amending Title 15, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 15-116; relating to parental involvement in schools.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 15, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 15-116, to read:
15-116. Schools; parental intervention options; notification
A. For any school that has been assigned a letter grade of D or F pursuant to section 15‑241 for at least two out of three consecutive years and that has been assigned a letter grade of D or F at the time the petition is submitted, the parents or legal guardians of pupils attending that school and parents or guardians of pupils attending a school that feeds into that school may submit a petition to the school district governing board to request that the governing board take one of the following actions recommended by those parents:
1. Implement the Turnaround model, by taking the following actions:
(a) Replacing the school principal with a new principal who shall be granted sufficient operational flexibility, including flexibility over staffing, calendars, the length of the school day and budgeting, to fully implement a comprehensive approach to substantially improve pupil achievement outcomes, and if the school is a high school, to increase high school graduation rates.
(b) Using locally adopted competencies to measure the effectiveness of staff who can work within the turnaround environment to meet the needs of pupils by taking the following actions:
(i) Conducting an immediate review of all existing staff that results in the retention of no more than fifty per cent of the existing staff.
(ii) Selecting new staff.
(c) Implementing strategies such as financial incentives, increased opportunities for promotion and career growth and flexible work conditions that are designed to recruit, place and retain staff with the skills necessary to meet the needs of the pupils in the turnaround school.
(d) Providing staff with ongoing, high‑quality, job-embedded professional development that is aligned with the school's comprehensive instructional program and that is designed in cooperation with school staff to ensure that staff are equipped to facilitate effective teaching and learning and with the capacity to successfully implement school reform strategies.
(e) Adopting a new governance structure, which may include requiring the school to report to a new turnaround office within the school district or the department of education, hire a turnaround leader who reports directly to the Superintendent of the school district or enter into a multiyear contract with the school district or the department of education to obtain added flexibility in exchange for greater accountability.
(f) Using data to identify and implement an instructional program that is research-based and vertically aligned from one grade to the next and that is aligned with state academic standards.
(g) Promoting the continuous use of pupil data, such as formative, interim and summative assessments, to inform and differentiate instruction in order to meet the academic needs of individual pupils by both:
(i) Establishing schedules and implementing strategies that provide increased learning time.
(ii) Providing appropriate social services, emotional services and community-oriented services and support for pupils.
(h) Optionally implementing other strategies such as any of the following:
(i) Any of the required and permissible activities under the transformation model prescribed in this section.
(ii) Implementing a new school model such as a themed school or a dual language academy.
2. Implement the restart model, by converting the school to a charter school or closing and reopening the school under a charter school operator, a charter management organization or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process. A school that implements a restart model shall enroll, within the grades it serves, any former pupil who was previously enrolled at the school and who wishes to attend the new charter school. For the purposes of this paragraph:
(a) "Charter Management Organization" means a nonprofit organization that operates or manages charter schools by centralizing or sharing certain functions and resources among schools.
(b) "Education management Organization" means a for-profit or nonprofit organization that provides whole-school operation services to a charter school.
3. Implement the Transformation model, by implementing the following strategies:
(a) Taking the following Required actions:
(i) Replacing the existing principal.
(ii) Using rigorous, transparent and equitable evaluation systems for teachers and principals that Are designed and developed with teacher and principal involvement and that Take into account data on pupil growth as a significant factor as well as other factors such as multiple observation‑based assessments of performance, ongoing collections of professional practice reflective of pupil achievement and, if the school is a high school, increased high school graduation rates.
(iii) Identifying and rewarding school leaders, teachers and other staff who, in implementing this model, have increased pupil achievement and high school graduation rates and identifying and removing school leaders, teachers and other staff who, after ample opportunities have been provided to improve, have failed to demonstrate improvement.
(iv) Providing staff with ongoing, high-quality, job-embedded professional development, such as subject-specific pedagogy, instruction that reflects a deeper understanding of the community served by the school or differentiated instruction, that is aligned with the school's comprehensive instructional program, that is designed with school staff to ensure staff are equipped to facilitate effective teaching and learning and that has the capacity to successfully implement school reform strategies.
(v) Implementing strategies such as financial incentives, increased opportunities for promotion and career growth and more flexible work conditions that are designed to recruit, place and retain staff with the skills necessary to meet the needs of the pupils enrolled at the school.
(vi) Using data to identify and implement an instructional program that is research-based and vertically aligned from one grade to the next and that is aligned with state academic standards.
(vii) Promoting the continuous use of pupil data, such as from formative, interim and summative assessments, to inform and differentiate instruction in order to meet the academic needs of individual pupils.
(viii) Giving the school sufficient operational flexibility, including flexibility over staffing, calendars, the length of the school day and budgeting, to implement a comprehensive approach to substantially improve pupil achievement outcomes and, if the school is a high school, to increase high school graduation rates.
(ix) Ensuring that the school receives ongoing, intensive technical assistance and related support from the school district, the department of education or a designated external organization.
(b) Taking the following optional actions:
(i) Providing additional compensation to attract and retain staff with the skills necessary to meet the needs of pupils.
(ii) Instituting a system for measuring changes in instructional practices resulting from professional development.
(iii) Ensuring that the school is not required to accept a teacher without the mutual consent of the teacher and principal, regardless of the teacher's seniority.
(iv) Conducting periodic reviews to ensure that the curriculum is being implemented with fidelity, is having the intended impact on pupil achievement and is modified if ineffective.
(v) Implementing a schoolwide response-to-intervention model.
(vi) Providing additional supports and professional development to teachers and principals in order to implement effective strategies to support pupils with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and to ensure that limited English proficient pupils acquire language skills to master academic content.
(vii) Using and integrating technology based supports and interventions as part of the instructional program.
(viii) If the school is a high school, Increasing rigor by offering opportunities for pupils to enroll in advanced coursework, such as Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate programs, science courses, technology courses, engineering courses, mathematics courses, schools that offer grand canyon diplomas, dual enrollment programs thematic learning academies that prepare pupils for college and careers.
(ix) If the school is a high school, Improving pupil transition from junior high school or middle school to high school through summer transition programs or freshman academies, smaller learning communities, competency‑based instruction, performance-based assessments and acceleration of basic reading and mathematics skills.
(x) If the school is a high school, Establishing early-warning systems to identify pupils who may be at risk of failing to achieve high standards or to graduate from high school.
(xi) If the school is a high school, increasing learning time and creating community-oriented schools, Establishing schedules and implementing strategies that provide increased learning time.
(xii) If the school is a high school, providing ongoing mechanisms for family and community engagement.
(xiii) Partnering with parents and parent organizations, faith-based and community-based organizations, health clinics, other state or local agencies and other entities to create safe school environments that meet the social, emotional and health needs of pupils.
(xiv) Extending or restructuring the school day to add time for strategies such as advisory periods that build relationships between pupils, faculty and other school staff.
(xv) Implementing approaches to improve school climate and discipline, such as implementing a system of positive behavioral supports or taking steps to eliminate bullying and pupil harassment.
(xvi) If the school is an elementary school, expanding the school program to offer full-day kindergarten programs or pre-kindergarten programs.
(xvii) Allowing the school to be run under a new governance arrangement, such as a turnaround division within the school district or the department of education.
(xviii) Implementing a per pupil school-based budget formula that is weighted based on pupil needs.
B. This section does not apply to an existing school that the school district has scheduled for closure.
C. A petition shall not be submitted pursuant to this section to the school district governing board for any school until the parents of more than fifty per cent of the pupils enrolled at the school have signed the petition. After the school district governing board receives the petitions, the school district shall have no more than forty-five calendar days to review, count and verify the signatures. The school district must initially attempt to verify all signatures by comparing the petitions to existing signatures of parents that are on file with the school district, and may contact a parent about a signature only if a perceived discrepancy in signatures is found. If sufficient discrepancies exist to reduce the number of parental signatures below fifty per cent of the pupils enrolled at the school, the petitioners shall have an additional thirty calendar days to attempt to obtain valid signatures from the parents of more than fifty per cent of the pupils enrolled at the school. The school district shall not discard a signature for technical reasons if the clear intent of the parent was to support the petition.
D. If the petitioning parents select conversion to a charter school under the Restart Model, the parents may select a specific, existing charter school operator by including the operator's name on the petition and circulating the petition together with the completed charter application for the school. The petitioning Parents may also decline to select a specific operator at the time of submitting the petition and may choose to select the operator after the petition is submitted to the school district within ninety calendar days after the petition is certified by the school district. In order to implement the charter school conversion option under the Restart Model:
1. The charter school application must be approved by the appropriate authorizing body. The charter application shall be treated in the same manner for appeals purposes under the law as any other charter school application.
2. The charter school must be operated as a nonprofit school and shall be subject to state and federal laws governing nonprofit organizations.
3. The operator selected must be operating other charter schools in this state, and the average of all the letter grades assigned pursuant to section 15-241 to the charter schools operated by that operator shall be at least a letter grade of B, unless an exception from the requirements of this paragraph is provided to that operator by the Superintendent of public instruction.
E. After the school district has verified that the parents of a majority of the pupils enrolled at the school have signed a petition submitted pursuant to this section, the school district governing board shall reach a decision on the final disposition of the petition within thirty calendar days.
F. Unless the petitioners explicitly request otherwise, the school district shall plan the conversion or transformation and shall implement the plan for the first day of school of the school year beginning in the next calendar year.
G. If the school district approves a parent petition to convert the school into a charter school, any parents who do not want their child to attend that charter school may enroll the child in another school operated by that school district.
H. A charter school that is established pursuant to this section is subject to the laws in this state as other charter schools. Parents petitioning to establish a charter school pursuant to this section do not need to ACQUIRE signatures on the petition from any person or entity other than from parents of pupils who are enrolled at the school.
I. Any school that implements any one of the intervention models, including conversion to a charter school, must continue to serve the pupils who reside in the entire attendance boundary of that school, must continue to serve all pupils who attended the school in the year before the transformation and must continue to allow pupils who live outside the attendance boundary of the school to enroll in the school if sufficient capacity exists.
J. The school district shall implement the specific intervention model that parents request in the petition unless the school district governing board adopts a written resolution at a public meeting called for this purpose that states the reason or reasons that the school district has determined that it is logistically impossible to implement that specific option. If the school district determines that it is logistically impossible to implement the requested option, the school district governing board shall state which of the other intervention models described in this section will be implemented within the time prescribed in this section.
K. If a school district determines that it is logistically impossible to implement the specific option requested by petitioning parents and instead designates a different option, the petitioning parents may file an expedited appeal to the superintendent of public instruction to determine whether or not the parents' request is logistically possible. The school district governing board shall defend the option selected by the school district. The superintendent of public instruction shall provide guidelines for the appointment of a qualified attorney to represent the petitioning parents during the appeals process.
L. After a school has been reorganized pursuant to this section, no petition may be submitted to reorganize that school pursuant to this section for at least two years after the school year in which the reorganization takes place.
M. A school district and employees of the school district shall not harass, threaten or intimidate parents during the petition circulation process and shall not discourage a parent from signing a petition or encourage a parent to revoke a signature on the petition.
N. A School or a school district shall not allow school or district resources to be used to support or oppose any efforts by parents who are attempting to circulate a petition pursuant to this section.
O. Parents who submit a petition pursuant to this section shall also submit a notarized letter certifying that the parents have attempted to address concerns through alternative means, such as discussions with the school principal or school district administrators.
P. Any school that implements the restart model pursuant to this section shall lease the school site from the school district. The annual rent under the lease shall not exceed fifty per cent of the total additional assistance distributed to the charter school pursuant to section 15‑185, subsection C for that fiscal year. The school district shall retain ownership of the physical plant, but the property shall be held in conservatorship by the School Facilities Board to facilitate the lease terms.
Q. The school district governing board:
1. Shall notify the superintendent of public instruction and the department of education on receipt of a parental petition under this section and of the school district's final disposition of that petition.
2. Is not required to implement the option requested by the parental petition if the request is for reasons other than improving academic achievement or pupil safety. Any denial of a petition on these grounds is subject to an expedited appeal to the superintendent of public instruction by the petitioning parents.
3. Shall include plans to demonstrate that an alternative governance option has substantial promise of enabling the school to make adequate pupil achievement growth consistent with state standards If the school district adopts a written resolution that the school district will implement an alternative governance arrangement other than that requested by the petitioning parents and if the petitioning parents do not file a timely appeal of this decision.
R. Within one hundred twenty days after the effective date of this section, the state board of education shall adopt rules to carry out the purposes of this section, including:
1. The petition format and submission process.
2. The appeals procedure for petitioning parents who wish to appeal the decision of the school district governing board to implement an alternative governance arrangement other than that requested by the petitioning parents.
3. The selection of the charter operator in circumstances where a charter school is established pursuant to this section.
S. The department of education shall maintain records regarding the contents of and outcomes from parental petitions in order to ensure appropriate implementation of this section and to address concerns identified through administrative procedures conducted pursuant to this section.
T. The superintendent of public instruction shall preside over appeals filed by petitioning parents under this section and shall issue the superintendent's determination in writing.