School & District Management Opinion

School Improvement RFP of the Week (1)

By Marc Dean Millot — January 22, 2008 3 min read
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Summer School is an Obvious Start at Revenue DiversificationFrom the January 21 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report

Announcement: Summer School Grant Program Due March 3 Colorado Department of Education

Their Description:

This Request for Proposal (RFP) is designed to distribute funds to a school district, consortium of school districts, and/or Institute Charter School pursuant to the requirements of the Summer School Grant Program.... $970,000 is available to applicants during the summer of 2008....

The purpose of the RFP is to... fund the operation of intensive summer school programs in reading, writing, or mathematics for eligible students. The programs and curricula funded must be designed to provide intensive instruction that is research-based, and rigorous enough to demonstrate significant improvement in a student’s performance in a short period of time, and that will be administered by teachers who have been trained in the use of the program....

An eligible student is one who is entering fifth through eighth grade and who has demonstrated Unsatisfactory performance on the most recent Colorado State Assessment Program (CSAP) reading, writing, or mathematics assessment.

A minimum of one grant made to a school district, a group of school districts (consortium), and/or Institute Charter School will be funded in each of the eight regional areas... of the state. The amount of each available grant will be determined based on the number of students eligible in each region.... Two priority points will be added to each grant application that includes more than a single district...

Funds may be used for:
• Purchase of intensive, research based curricula in reading, writing and/or
• Valid and reliable assessments to pre- and post-test eligible students;
• Teacher training in use of summer school curriculum and assessment; and
• Instructional salaries....

Grants will be awarded for a one-year period based on most recent CSAP results demonstrating unsatisfactory performance of students within the applicable grades....

Each (participant) n the program must submit an annual report to CDE on or before October 1 following the completion of the summer school program. The report shall detail the number of eligible students who participated in the Summer School Grant Program and the curriculum used. Districts will also report levels of performance in the subject area(s) in which the summer school program was offered, based on the assessment identified by the Colorado Department of Education administered to the eligible students before and after participating in the program....

The proposed curriculum and program(s) of instruction must be research-based and intensive enough to demonstrate significant improvement in a student’s performance in a short period of time. Evidence of instructional effectiveness can come from any of the following sources: (1) demonstrated student achievement in formal testing situations implemented by the teacher, school district, or state; (2) published findings of research-based evidence that the instructional methods being used by teachers lead to student achievement or; (3) proof of reason-based practice that converges with a research-based consensus in the scientific literature. This type of justification of educational practice becomes important when direct evidence is not available (a direct test of the instructional efficacy of a particular method is absent), but there is a theoretical link to research-based evidence that can be traced....

My Thoughts: No school improvement provider looking at state budgets and the future of NCLB’s accountability provisions can feel confident about selling their offerings in the same format tapping into the same funding streams. It’s time to repurpose content and diversify revenues. A “sustainability premium” attaches to new sales for new purposes drawing on new funding programs.
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