Opinion
School & District Management Opinion

School Improvement RFP of the Week

By Marc Dean Millot — April 08, 2008 2 min read
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A (Problematic) Single-Sex Public School Opportunity in Atlanta

From Monday’s issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets ReportAnnouncement: Single-Gender Schools Intermediary Partners Due April 29 (Apr 4), Atlanta Public Schools, Georgia

Their Description:

Atlanta Public Schools (APS).... converted Benjamin Carson Honors Preparatory School into two separate single gender academies:

• The Business, Engineering, Science, & Technology Academy at Benjamin S. Carson

• Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

The district utilized a “phase-out” conversion model in which only the 6th grade students were a part of year one implementation. After year-one implementation, a new 6th grade cohort will be added until each school has students in grades 6-12 while the “parent school” phases-out.

The goal of the RFQ is to develop a list of one (1) or more qualified intermediary organizations that can provide a gender-based comprehensive framework which addresses the unique needs of the members of the learning environment....

Scope Of Services

• [P]rofessional development on research based instructional practices... in a single gender learning environment.

• [S]trategic plan that designs effective advisory programs to meet the... social needs of the members of the single gender community.

• [C]ommunications plan....

• [O]n-site technical assistance and professional development to staff....

• [T]raining for campus principals....

• [C]lassroom visits... that incorporate observation, coaching, and modeling....

• [T]eacher observations....

• [W]ritten feedback to the principals .....

• Training for new staff and refresher training for veteran staff....

Qualifications

• [A]t least three years of experience in working with an urban school or urban district that has demographics (i.e. ethnicity, socioeconomic status, mobility rates, etc.) that closely parallels Atlanta....

• Extensive experience with another district in working with single gender schools or organizations....

• [O]penness to collaborating with district technical assistance providers that have been identified to support the plan for middle school transformation in Atlanta Public Schools....

Evaluation

An evaluation committee will evaluate each proposal. The APS, at its sole discretion, determines the criteria and process whereby proposals are evaluated and awarded.... Proposals will be evaluated on a combination of factors:
1. Qualification and experience
2. Business capability and stability
3. Methodology
4. Price
5. Quality and completeness of proposal....

Proposals which contain irregularities of any kind and/or do not comply fully with solicitation documents may be rejected at the discretion of the Director of Procurement Services.

My Thoughts: This work is closer to what’s offered by Comprehensive School Reform Providers than Education (or Charter) Management Organizations, but suited to both. What’s problematic is the three years of experience with single sex schools in a district like Atlanta. That’s a set of requirement that leads to concerns that the contract is wired. Especially given that this is an RFQ, best practice would suggest casting a broader net.

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