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NASDC Sets Criteria for Winning Proposals

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The New American Schools Development Corporation plans to use the following five criteria to select jurisdictions it will work with over the next three years:

  • A demonstrated commitment to put a "supportive operating environment" in place.
  • A commitment to achieve a critical mass of "transforming" schools within five years, meaning that at least 30 percent of the jurisdiction's schools would have implemented NASDC or other effective school designs.
  • A commitment to acquire and allocate significant resources to restructure schools, using NASDC and other designs.
  • The presence of institutions and processes that would provide continuity, despite changes in political and educational leadership.
  • Evidence of widespread support and participation in reform efforts by local educators and business, higher education, the community, and political leaders.

Key Ingredients

NASDC believes a "supportive operating environment" is likely to have the following attributes:

  • Substantial school-level autonomy, including significant control of budgeting, hiring, curriculum and instruction, scheduling, and the means to demonstrate accountability.
  • Common, publicly supported standards of achievement, along with mechanisms for schools to petition for the acceptance of self-developed standards, as long as they are equivalent to or exceed the established ones.
  • Rich and reliable systems of assessment.
  • Sources of assistance in choosing or developing curriculum and instructional strategies consistent with the standards and responsive to student needs.
  • Professional development and certification that is responsive to the needs of schools and school professionals and insures staff members have the skills to help students meet the standards.
  • Technology that supports teachers and students and assists in the management and restructuring of schools.
  • A community-services and -support system that strengthens family and community engagement and reduces non-school barriers to learning.
  • An array of means by which a community and its schools engage the public to develop a broad and deep understanding of, and support for, reform.
  • A capacity and willingness to allocate the resources needed to transform individual schools.
  • A management and governance system that assures that schools have the guidance, individual autonomy, and support needed to achieve their broad public mission.

--Lynn Olson

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