Reports on Progress - March 2016
Bradley v Pinellas County Schools
Memoranda of Understanding
Report on Progress – March 2016
To date, five Memoranda of Understandings (MOU) in the area of Quality of Education have been negotiated and approved by the plaintiffs and School Board. The MOUs in place to date include;
Student Achievement, Student Discipline, Assignment to Programs and Classes, Administrative Staff Assignment and Faculty and District Monitoring and Advisory Committee.
Each MOU includes provision for meetings of both parties to provide data updates and review progress toward aspirational goals and means and methods set forth in the memoranda. This report and supporting data includes the following elements referenced in the MOU.
- Evidence of School Improvement Plans including data on black student achievement relative to white and other students in general, strategies and interventions to improve black student achievement, and school-based individuals responsible for implementation
- Equitable allocation of resources
- Data to support the above using district data systems
Student Discipline (Behavior)
- Evidence of School Improvement Plans including data relative to black student discipline relative to white and other students in general, behavioral strategies and interventions to improve student behavior, and school-based individuals responsible for implementation
- Evidence of School-wide Behavior Plans to include positive behavioral supports and professional development in the implementation of the plan through the use of data for identifying the underlying causes of negative behavior through problem solving
- Data to support the above using district data systems
Assignment to Programs and Classes
- Evidence of School Improvement Plans including data relative to assignment of students by race to exceptional education programs, accelerated classes, countywide programs, AVID, and/or gifted programs, means and methods to achieve continuous improvement, and school-based staff responsible for implementation
- Data related to black student participation in exceptional education programs, accelerated classes, magnet/application programs, AVID, and gifted services
Administrative Staff Assignment and Faculty
- Evidence of the district’s support of minority administrative staff assignment at all school levels and in central administration and general geographic apportionment that is at least as equitable as levels that existed in the 1998-99 school year
- Evidence of the district’s commitment to continued support of minority instructional staff assignments at all school levels and in the general geographic apportionment. The district will maintain a “critical shortage” designation of black teachers so long as the percentage of black students within the district is two or more points higher than the percentage of black teachers
District Monitoring and Advisory Committee (DMAC)
- Discussion of progress achieved on points of understanding in Memorandum of Understanding.
Quality of Education – Student Achievement
FSA Results and Tiered Supports
Until recently, the district had reported disaggregated student achievement data (FCAT and End of Course Examinations) for the last several years as provided by the Florida Department of Education for the district and individual schools, and these data can still be accessed at http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/. Additionally, the PCS Assessment, Accountability, and Research Department had prepared reports showing FCAT achievement levels/EOC results by race/ethnicity.
Beginning in the year 2015, the state transitioned to a new assessment series, FSA (Florida Standards Assessment) for ELA (English Language Arts) and Mathematics. During this transition period, there were no leveled scores to allow districts to further analyze the data. Recently, the Department of Education has announced these leveled scores, and new reports have become available and are a part of the documents linked to this report.
There is caution in comparing the new FSA results and the prior FCAT data history. These two assessments are based on two different sets of standards, and the format for the assessments are appropriately different to adequately measure student progress towards meeting these new standards.
The Department of Education considers this year as our baseline year for analysis and provides caution in making valid comparisons. Still, using the results to show achievement gap comparisons may be considered.
Analysis of the 2015 FSA results suggests:
- Though comparisons to the FCAT are made with some caution, the new FSA assessment for English Language Arts (formerly called “Reading”) shows black students with a narrowing of the achievement gap at each grade level compared to the previous years under the FCAT assessment.
- Also, the FSA ELA results show an increase in proficiency (compared to previous years of FCAT Reading results) of nearly seven percent overall among black students and an increase in proficiency among non-black students of only two percent. This is more impressive considering that the reading proficiency scores during the previous three years had remained flat for the state and districts. The biggest increase in proficiency was found on the FSA ELA test for Grades 9 and 10, which had been at 20.1% for 2014 and now is at 28.1% for 2015.
- Again, despite some caution in comparing two different assessments, the new FSA assessment for Math shows black students with a narrowing of the achievement gap at each grade level compared to the previous years under the FCAT math assessment.
- Also, the FSA Math results show an increase in proficiency among black students (compared to previous years of FCAT Reading results) in both elementary (an increase of 12% in grades 3-5) and middle school (an increase of nearly 5%). Again, this follows a three-year period of math proficiency results that were relatively flat for the state and districts.
Because of this transition period and the length of time between the assessments and receiving the results, Pinellas County Schools did not wait to develop current actions to support increased achievement rates across all of our schools in the areas of ELA and mathematics. These plans are in the implementation phases and continue to be monitored by district staff:
- Increased opportunities for more students to attend Summer Bridge to narrow learning gaps
- Increased opportunities for teachers to attend standards-based professional development targeting reading and math
- Provision of additional funds to all schools, especially Title I schools, to further expand extended learning opportunities before, during, and after school hours
- Continue to provide all schools with supplemental reading and math technology programs that can be used at home, in the community, and before/after school programs
- Provision of additional support sessions throughout the summer of 2015 and extending to summer of 2016 assisting schools with targeted strategies to build effective school improvement plans
- Provision of additional technology support at all Title I schools by providing approximately 6,000 laptop computers and instructional software for students in need of home technology to expand the learning day
In addition to our data analysis, the state of Florida uses two methods for identification of “struggling” schools. The first designation requiring state oversight by a Regional Differentiated Accountability team is referred to as Turnaround Schools. This designation is defined by FL Department of Education including FCAT data over multiple years. The FSA was administered for the first time in 2015; therefore the state determined that Turnaround status will remain as it was during 2014-15 school year. The following Pinellas County Schools remain identified as Turnaround Schools: Azalea Middle, Bear Creek Elementary, Campbell Park Elementary, Fairmount Park Elementary, High Point Elementary, Maximo Elementary, Melrose Elementary, and Ponce de Leon Elementary.
A second designation from the Florida Department of Education is defined as the lowest 300 elementary schools in the state based on reading proficiency rates using the FCAT reading achievement measures. Again, without current FSA scores at the beginning of this year, the lowest 300 elementary schools remained the same for 2015-2016. These identified schools are receiving one hour of additional, intensive reading instruction per day. Pinellas County already provides an additional 30 minutes of reading instruction daily. The following elementary schools will continue to increase their school day by an additional 30 minutes to then deliver an hour of intensive reading instruction daily: Bear Creek Elementary, Blanton Elementary, Campbell Park Elementary, Fairmount Park Elementary, High Point Elementary, Lakewood Elementary, Lealman Avenue Elementary, Maximo Elementary, Melrose Elementary, New Heights Elementary, Pinellas Park Elementary, Ponce de Leon Elementary, Sandy Lane Elementary, Seventy-Fourth Street Elementary, and Woodlawn Elementary.
In response to the low reading achievement scores in these identified schools, district improvement initiatives have been put into place to positively impact these trends. The following actions remain in the implementation process for the 2015-2016 school year:
- Debriefing meetings with individual principals and district leadership to review data and to review components within their School Improvement Plans
- Differentiated staffing models including both instructional, non-instructional, and support staff
- Differentiated allocation of funds at both the district and school levels to support improvement efforts with a focus on increasing the extended learning opportunities beyond the school day
- Specific research-based intervention programs implemented with fidelity in each school site
- Expanded professional development opportunities for all staff members focused on the implementation of the identified interventions as well as school-wide behavior strategies
- Protective hiring practices to ensure highly qualified teaching staffs are in place
- Increased monitoring practices at both district and school levels
- Expanded opportunities for students to attend Summer Bridge academic programs
- Expanded opportunities for students to take home computers for academic practice and engagement before, during, and after school (Beyond the Classroom Initiative)
- Provision of professional development to both principals and assistant principals using the Early Warning Reports for elementary, middle, and high schools with monitoring systems for black/non-black students
- Creation of an automated report after each grading period to inform course failures disaggregated for black/non-black students and by school to be shared with school and district leadership for intentional progress monitoring
- Increased representation of black students enrolled in higher level courses such as Algebra I, Geometry, Advanced Math, and English Honors at the middle school level and gifted/talented programs at the elementary level
- Increased number of family academic engagement opportunities provided by schools
Additionally, the district has since hired a new Director of School Leadership and put in a place a Transformation Team to provide a greater degree of oversight and some innovative solutions in our most struggling schools.
Scale Up Initiative
The district continues to support an innovative set of interventions already in place in our highest priority elementary schools.
The effort to support these five schools began formally in 2014 and continues under the title of the Scale Up for Success Initiative. The initiative is aimed at increasing student achievement through a multi-pronged approach, with an emphasis on implementation during the first year (2014-15) and developmental supports in year two (2015-16).
Rooted in the 5Essentials framework for school reform, the following interventions were put in place at the five schools:
- Intensive support and training for every teacher, including the hiring of a paraprofessional for every classroom to serve as a teaching partner;
- Intensive coaching and support for school leaders, including a district partnership with The New Teacher Project (a national leader in school improvement and principal growth);
- Advanced behavior management systems and frequent district monitoring to reduce student discipline incidences and ensure a stronger learning climate for teachers and students;
- Aggressive recruitment, retention and performance bonuses for teachers;
- Comprehensive mental health and counseling services for students and families;
- Enhanced extended learning and summer programs, and family engagement opportunities to provide unique learning experiences.
Scale Up / Program Goals
- Immediate: Building the capacity and effectiveness of school leaders and instructional staff to increase student achievement at each of the five Scale Up schools.
- Long-term: Transference of best practices in the five Scale Up schools to other school sites in the district in support of a widespread increase in student achievement.
Scale Up / Progress / Highlights from 2015 Data
- Campbell Park increased significantly in both the number of students reaching math proficiency (increase of 6 percent) and science proficiency (increase of 5 percent).
- Fairmount Park increased significantly in the number of students reaching math proficiency (increase of 16 points) though had some drop in science.
- Lakewood increased significantly in both the number of students reaching math proficiency (increase of 5 percent) and science proficiency (increase of 13 percent).
- Maximo increased significantly in number of students reaching math proficiency (increase of 6 percent) though had some drop in science.
- Melrose increased significantly in both the number of students reaching math proficiency (increase of 2 percent) and science proficiency (increase of 8 percent).
Scale Up / Progress / Highlights to Date for 2016 (updated February 2016)
- All five Scale Up schools are showing progress this year in district cycle assessments for ELA, out-distancing the district at each grade level.
*NOTE: The test for ELA 3rd grade was rewritten for the 2015-2016 school year. As such, caparisons for 3rd grade were omitted
- All five Scale Up schools showing progress this year in district cycle assessments for math, also out-distancing the district at each grade level.
NOTE: **The testing format changed from paper-based to online and multi-select items were added. As such, interpretations or conclusions based on this data are limited.
***Testing format changed to include multi-select items (note: the testing for 4th and 5th grade were online for both 2014-2015 and 2015-2016). As such, interpretations or conclusions based on this data are limited
- All five Scale Up schools are also showing improvement this year in our district cycle assessments for science, out-distancing the district at grades 1,2 and 3.
Florida End of Course Exams (EOC)
EOC assessments are computer-based, criterion-referenced assessments that measure the Florida Standards (FS) or the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) for specific courses, as outlined in their course descriptions. In 2011, Algebra 1 (NGSSS) was the first course to undergo the implementation of a statewide EOC assessment. Over the next few years, it was followed by Biology 1, Geometry, U.S. History, and Civics, all of which are aligned to the NGSSS.
Beginning in 2014-15, assessments aligned to the Florida Standards are replacing assessments aligned to the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in mathematics and English language arts (formerly reading and writing). More specifically, the Algebra 1 and Geometry NGSSS-aligned assessments are being replaced by FS-aligned assessments (Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA). The NGSSS-aligned Algebra 1 will be administered through summer 2017 for the cohort of students who initially took the NGSSS course and have yet to pass the EOC assessment. All students completing applicable Algebra 1 or Geometry courses in 2014-15 and beyond will take the FSA End-of-Course Assessment.
The science and social studies NGSSS-aligned EOC assessments – Biology 1, Civics, and U.S. History – will continue to be administered for students completing applicable courses.
As statewide assessment results are available for the 2013-14 school year, they will be posted here. Interactive reporting resources provide access to databases that allow users to generate reports for the state, districts, or schools. More information about the assessments are provided on the FCAT 2.0, FCAT 2.0 Historical, and EOC Assessments pages.
College Readiness Exams ACT/SAT Scores
The 3-year trends for Pinellas County School’s Black students on the ACT and SAT tests indicate consistent performance but no reduction in the Black/Non-Black gap. However, the stability of the scores is a positive sign with more students taking the assessments, especially the ACT tests. Since 2006 when only 234 Pinellas Schools Black students took the ACT there has been a 220% increase in the number of test-takers.
The overall percentage of Pinellas County School ACT test-takers that are African American/Black is also representative of our black student population in 2015 than it was in 2006. In 2015, 18% of Pinellas County students taking the ACT were African American/Black compared to 12% in 2006.
SAT and ACT scores become available from the College Board and ACT in September and are included in the supporting data below.
Advanced Placement (AP) Exams
The Advanced Placement Exam scores become available each July. The 2015 results were included in the August 2015 report and will be included in the August 2016 report.
United States (U.S.) Department of Education regulations require each state to calculate a four-year adjusted cohort rate, which includes standard diplomas but excludes GEDs, both regular and adult, and special diplomas. Another difference in the new rate is that adult education transfers will count as non-graduates, rather than simply a transfer out of the cohort. This new rate is referred to as the Federal Graduation Rate and the U.S. Department of Education is adopting this calculation method in an effort to streamline graduation rate calculations to acquire uniform, accurate, and comparable rates across all states. States began calculating the new graduation rate in 2010-11, and states were required to implement the federal graduation rate in determining school grades beginning in 2011-12. District and school level federal graduation rate data disaggregated by race and gender is now available for the 2014-15 school year and is provided below.
The graduation rate for Pinellas County Schools’ Black students continued its upward trend in the 2014-15 school year. The total Black student graduation rate rose by 3.89% and is now 64.62%. The Pinellas Black/Non-Black gap narrowed by 2.19% from 18.91% to 16.72%. Additionally, the gap between Pinellas’ Black student graduation rate and the State’s Black student graduation continued to narrow another 0.65% from 3.96% to 3.31%. Black males once again had one of the highest rates of growth of all subgroups with a 5.74% increase for a total of 61.00%. The graduation rate for Black females showed an increase of 1.94% from 66.37% to 68.31% in 2014-15.
We are providing a three-year (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15) graduation rate comparison report.
School Improvement Plan (SIP)
As the MOU requires, each school is to include data on black student achievement relative to white and other students in general, strategies and interventions to improve black student achievement and school-based individuals responsible for implementation. This requirement is communicated annually to all school principals during annual SIP technical assistance. Beginning with the 2011-12 school year, SIP technical assistance and monitoring is coordinated through the district Assessment, Accountability, and Research (AAR) Department. Link to 2015-16 School Improvement PlansEquitable Allocation of ResourcesThrough a variety of local, state, and federal funding sources such as Title I, schools with large populations of black students receive additional human and financial resources. A detailed report of tiered support for 2015-16 school year was presented in the August 2015 report and will be included August 2016 report.
Quality of Education – Student Discipline (Behavior)
The indicator of discipline required as a goal in the FDOE School Improvement Plan template is suspensions, both out-of-school and in-school suspensions. Pinellas County Schools’ Assessment, Accountability, and Research (AAR) Department has developed yearly suspension reports since 2006. A supplemental suspension report is compiled to specifically compare black and non-black students. These reports are based on historically archived data on a date certain for each report. The main report includes changes from the previous year and these reports are the most consistent and reliable suspension data available. All the suspension reports are posted on the district AAR website and the links to all of the current and past year reports can be found with the supporting data below.
A detailed report was shared in the August 2015 report and will be included August 2016 report.
Disciplinary Reassignments and Expulsions
The Area Superintendent Offices have developed summary reports related to reassignments and expulsions. Disaggregated data for the past five years by race was included in the August 2015 report and will be included August 2016 report. First Semester Reassignments and First Semester Expulsion graphs are provided here in the supporting data.
The Collaborative Interagency Agreement regarding Student Misconduct was initially drafted in January 2014 and ratified in May 2014. In January, initial training was conducted in a joint meeting of all principals and their School Resource Officer (SRO). School arrests were down 30% in 2014-15 from the year before. However, since implementing the SRO agreement arrests decreased 44.8% from 2012-13 to 2014-15. Pinellas County ranks 2nd in Florida among large districts in the use of civil citations. In 2014-15, 86% of all youth offenders received a civil citation and 88% of black offenders received a civil citation for school-based offenses.
There was Training/Presentations at the onset of this school year in August 2015 with the SROs and Principals/Assistant Principals. At the Principal-Assistant Principal meeting, there was considerable discussion regarding the Collaborative Agreement including a review of the arrest trends, student interviews and community resources available. At the SRO meeting, there was a full agenda including the Collaborative Agreement including a review of the arrest trends, student interviews, and community resources. There were numerous presentations related to diversionary community based programs and school safety.
As the school year has progressed, there has been another county-wide SRO Meeting, two SRO Supervisors meetings, and six other meetings with the Principals continuing the discussions regarding the Collaborative Agreement, arrest trends, student interviews and school safety issues.
As a result of training on the Collaborative Agreement, schools administrators and SROs have worked together to handle minor student misconduct at the school level using a variety of school based sanctions, and other alternatives including referrals to diversionary programs and community base programs. School arrests through the month of February 2016 are down 3.5% when compared to the same time last year. When compared to the same time period two years ago in 2014, there were 440 arrests, or a 34% decrease this year.
School Improvement Plans
As required by the MOU, each school is to include data on black student discipline relative to white and other students in general, behavioral strategies and interventions to improve student behavior and school-based individuals responsible for implementation. Link to 2015-16 School Improvement Plans
School-Wide Behavior Plan
School-wide Behavior Plans (SWBP) are available online. Link to SWBP School-wide Behavior Plans (SWBP) have recently undergone an extensive mid-year review by the Area Superintendents and the corresponding Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Specialists (MTSS). In accordance with the Bradley MOU, plans were pored-over to ensure that the following:
- Data are used to identify disproportionality between the number of referrals and in- and out- of-school suspensions for Black and Non-Black students.
- Goals are measureable, specific and observable.
- Goals are designed to reduce or eliminate the gap between Black and non-Black students.
- Specific strategies are designed to reduce or eliminate the gap between Black and non-Black students.
School-Wide Behavior Plan Feedback
Schools were provided specific feedback via email and face-to-face feedback during school visits to address the problem-solving cycle, with focus on data for maintaining existing processes and identifying new priorities to support Black students. The MTSS Specialists examined closely the effectiveness and fidelity, in relation to implementation of the School-wide Behavior Plans, compared to the changes in disproportionate exclusion data (outcome data on referrals and suspensions) of Black students. Additional pertinent feedback includes support in helping schools to:
1. Determine whether strategies specifically address barriers which have been validated through research and local data.
2. Identify and implement evidence-based strategies to reduced or eliminate the disproportionality in disciplinary exclusions – discussed more extensively in the next section.
a. Do the strategies provide an explicit description of the procedures, practices and/or interventions to be used?
b. Do the strategies provide a clear definition of the settings and implementers who use the procedures, practices and/or interventions?
c. Do the strategies provide an identification of the population of individuals who are expected to benefit?
d. Do the strategies provide the specific outcomes expected?
3. Delineate a plan for monitoring effectiveness and fidelity of implementation including the use of the PBS Assessments such as monthly PBS monitoring, PBS Implementation Checklist (PIC) and current MTSS self-assessment to monitor and guide development and implementation. As well as establishing routine monitoring through observations, walk- throughs, informal surveys, interviews, etc. to provide ongoing feedback and support to staff and adjust as indicated by data.
4.Determine if goals and strategies revision and/or continuation is based on response to intervention (RtI) – What’s working? For whom? How do you know (data)? Next steps?
Evidence-Based Interventions (Comparison Analysis)
In 2015, school district leaders participated in a national conference on discipline hosted by the White House. Resources were immediately incorporated into a yearlong training for principals on research-based strategies to improve school climates and reduce discipline disparities. This builds on the district’s continued investment in strategies related to Positive Behavior Supports.
Pinellas County Schools has limited both the type of offenses that lead to suspension and the number of days a student can be suspended without district approval and has begun to infuse unique options including alternatives to suspension. The district began a new practice in December of this year to limit the number of days of suspension to a maximum of five days for any one offense. As a result of the above changes the district has seen a 30.6% decrease in the number of out-of-school suspensions from 2014-15 to 2015-16 (August through February), and an even greater decrease in out-of-school suspensions (a 43% drop) so far for the second semester since the district began to limit suspension days. (January/February 2016).
Since school discipline is important in building positive school culture and climate that is both safe and productive, the MTSS Specialists often draw from the work of Sprick, Tobin, Vincent, and Sprague --among others-- to specifically guide our supports in helping schools to improve disciplinary conflicts and suspension. The interventions identified in this section offer schools a more front-end proactive approach which moves beyond punishment to prevention and intervention. Schools are supported in the use of data-driven problem solving to identify the disproportionate representation of black students in disciplinary incidents and to identify which interventions are most effective in reducing, eliminating or preventing discipline discrepancies among these students.
The resources below are used in specific and face-to-face feedback and ongoing support to help effectively align best practices, monitor implementation efforts, and evaluate for intended outcomes.
Gregory, A., Bell, J., & Pollock, M., (2014). How educators can eradicate disparities in school discipline: A briefing paper on school-based interventions. Bloomington, IN: The Equity Project at
Indiana University. Available at http://rtpcollaborative.indiana.edu/briefing-papers/
Sprick, R. (2009).CHAMPS. A Proactive & Positive Approach to Classroom Management.
Sprick, R., & Daniels, K. (2010).Managing student behavior. Principal Leadership, 11(1), 18-21.
Tobin, T. J., & Vincent, C. G. (2011). Strategies for preventing disproportionate exclusions of African
American students. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 55(4),192-201.
Vincent, C. G., Randall, C., Cartledge, G., Tobin, T. J., & Swain-Bradway, J. (2011). Toward a conceptual integration of cultural responsiveness and schoolwide positive behavior support.
Vincent, C., Sprague, J., & Gau, J. M. (2012). The effectiveness of school-wide positive behavior support for reducing racially inequitable disciplinary exclusions in middle school.
Assignment to Programs and Classes
School Improvement Plans
Each school is to include data relative to assignment of students by race to exceptional education programs, accelerated classes, countywide programs, AVID, and/or gifted programs, means and methods to achieve continuous improvement, and school-based staff responsible for implementation. Individual schools selected the type of courses or programs to address in their SIP based on the programs and courses offered at the school. Some schools may have addressed magnet of fundamental programs, while others addressed accelerated course participation or students assigned to exceptional student education programs Link to 2015-16 School Improvement Plans
Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Classes
ESE data provided are current as of March 1, 2016 and displayed in graphic form as it has been in previous reports to maintain consistency. Since 2010, the number of black students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities has decreased from 845 to 462. This is a 45% decrease in the past six years.
In order to address disproportionality, goal five of the Bridging the Gap Strategic Plan is to reduce the number of black students being found eligible for Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities (EBD) by 2 percent by June 2016. Review of the included data supports that this goal will be achieved. Action steps to achieve this goal have included: Increased and improved use of data to inform and monitor progress toward the goal by district and school level personnel; a focus on professional development in the area of culturally responsive and equity focused teaching for district staff, principals, school behavior specialists and school based teams; a continued focus on monitoring the quality and fidelity of Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) and school based interventions. A Guide to Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) was written and disseminated to support schools in the effective use of this response to intervention process. In addition to the previously developed and reported fidelity checks and rubrics being used in the eligibility process, a Tier 2 monitoring record was developed for use by teams before moving to a consideration for EBD eligibility. Current year data did not support a focus on primary grade levels as previously identified. Programs for schools this year have included the participation of 6 schools district wide participating with Community Tampa Bay.
The Goal Five team includes representatives from Exceptional Student Education (ESE), Student Services, Area Office staff, Strategic Partnerships, Title I, Professional Development, and Assessment, Accountability and Research personnel. The team meets regularly to review and analyze eligibility data, to develop and collaborate on action items and to monitor implementation, progress, and impact upon students.
In addition, the ESE department monitors the ESE initial eligibility data by primary exceptionality, gender, grade level and ethnicity monthly. This data is used to inform decisions and implement changes to instruction, behavior and academic interventions, the eligibility process and Bridging the Gap Strategic Plan goal five initiatives.
Gifted department initiatives continue to focus on providing students from underrepresented populations the opportunity for increased access to services as well as gifted education best practices.
District Gifted Enrollment
The percentage of black students identified as gifted has remained relatively stable over the past year.
Ethnic data by Special Ethnic Code: Black/NonBlack
Data Source: ESO35, Focus Advanced Report
Enrollment in Full-time Gifted Services at the Centers for Gifted Studies (CGS)
- The Centers are district application programs and required application.
Ridgecrest Center for Gifted Studies, Gr. 1- 5
- 5.2% (20B/383) of the students at Ridgecrest CGS are black.
- To increase diversity, the administration sent a letter to all 4th grade black gifted students inviting them to apply for available 4th grade seats.
Middle School Centers for Gifted Studies (MSCSG)
- 49% of gifted black students, grades 6-8, are receiving services in a full-time setting.
- Bridging the Gap, Goal 3-Action 10, calls for focus groups with black MSCGS students to be held twice during 2015-16 to determine needs for support and establish a peer group. The first round has been held and the second will be held in this spring.
% of Black Students
MS Centers for Gifted Studies
Data Source: Focus Advanced Report
Talent Development Programs
- Beginning in 2013-14, gifted teachers in elementary Title 1 schools added talent development as part of their job responsibility. The expectation is that the gifted/talented teacher will provide creativity exercises in general education classes and identify students in the top 10% to participate in talent development groups.
- Goal 3, Action 9 of the Bridging the Gap plan, creates the expectation for increasing the number of black students participating in elementary talent development groups.
230 / 11%
(First Semester only)
Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM)
- A cohort of schools implemented SEM Enrichment Clusters: SEM TEAM 1 - Bardmoor, Ridgecrest, and Seminole; SEM TEAM 2 – Bauder, Cypress Woods, Garrison Jones, Madeira Beach and Tarpon Fundamental. These schools agreed to engage students in personalized learning through Enrichment Clusters. Enrichment Clusters covered a variety of topics. They were scheduled once a week for 4-8 weeks. Students were able to select the cluster of their interest, thus increasing student engagement in learning.
- Participating schools received: 1) a school subscription to GoQuest, web-based personalized learning program; 2) three schools received a scholarship for one person to attend Confratute, July 2015 (SEM/gifted education conference); and 3) professional development on the SEM model and Enrichment Clusters, October 2015 and March 2016.
Increased access to gifted screening
Improved data collection
- School monthly screening data collection chart was revised to include ethnicity. The percent of black students screened for gifted matches the percent of black students in the district.
August – December, 2015
541 / 19%
Supporting Data: Gifted Screening Data 2015-17 (1.7.16)
Universal/Whole Grade-level Screening
- The gifted department continues the initiative of providing the Naglieri Nonverbal Assessment Test – 2nd Edition (NNAT- 2) to screen a whole grade level for gifted at targeted schools t increase enrollment and diversity. As described in the product literature, the NNAT 2 “uses progressive matrices to allow for a culturally neutral evaluation of students’ nonverbal reasoning and general problem-solving ability, regardless of the individual primary language, education, culture, or socioeconomic background.”
NNAT2 protocols were provided to the following schools to increase enrollment and diversity:
Pinellas Park ES
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)
The Advanced Studies & Academic Excellence staff strives to continually improve the fidelity to the AVID expectations for providing underrepresented students with the opportunity to access a more rigorous course load in order to provide them with the greatest variety of post-secondary options. The mission of AVID is and will remain preparing students in the academic middle to gain the academic independence necessary to be successful in the post-secondary setting, with a focus on the underrepresented subgroups (minority, low income, first generation college, unique circumstances that put a student at risk to discontinue their education).
As we recruit secondary students to take the AVID elective and schedule students for the upcoming school year, the expectation is clear to students who demonstrated interest in participating in the AVID program, as well as teachers, counselors and administrators, that all AVID students must be scheduled into courses of rigor to the greatest extent possible, without compromising their ability to be successful in those courses. Intentional recruitment of black students in the academic middle who have not previously accessed rigorous courses is evident when reviewing the enrollment increases that we have experienced in 2015-16, with an overall increase from 3597 students in 2014-15 to 4276 students in 2015-16 (18.9%) and an increase from 825 black students in 2014-15 to 1030 students (24.8%) in 2015-16. The enrollment trends in AVID continue to increase while maintaining an overrepresentation of black students as compared to the breakdown of our total school population.
AVID Elementary was established in Pinellas County at five schools in 2012-13, is presently in 13 schools and is expanding to two additional schools next year. Schools have self-identified their interest in becoming an AVID Elementary site and use school-based funds to provide training opportunities and meet training requirements for their staff while the district pays the membership fees. With increasing interest in the structure of AVID Elementary, we anticipate continued growth in 2017-18, again based on voluntary participation from schools.
- Existing schools: Bear Creek, Blanton, Dunedin, Fairmount Park, Garrison Jones, Kings Highway, Lakewood, New Heights, Pinellas Central, Sandy Lane, Seventy-fourth Street, Starkey, Woodlawn
- 2016-17 new schools: Azalea & Ponce de Leon
Data is included showing the black and non-black enrollment in several types of advanced and accelerated courses.
At the high school level, the course enrollment analysis includes:
- Dual enrollment courses, which are courses that earn both high school and college credit if the student achieves a C or higher for the final grade – students must have qualifying test scores and a qualifying GPA in order to participate in dual enrollment (accelerated)
- Advanced Placement courses, which are courses that require the AP exam in May and have potential to articulate to college credit if the student earns a 3 or higher on the exam (accelerated)
- Dual enrollment and Advanced Placement courses combined to represent the college level course enrollment (accelerated)
- Honors classes, which are taken for high school credit and are college preparatory (advanced)
At the middle school level, the course enrollment analysis includes:
- Honors courses, which are taken for high school credit and are college preparatory (accelerated)
- Algebra courses that result in completing the Algebra I graduation requirement while in middle school (accelerated)
- M/J Advanced courses, which are middle school courses taken in preparation for a high school college preparatory focus (advanced)
These data show black and nonblack student enrollment for dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, dual enrollment & Advanced Placement combined, high school honors enrollment, middle school Algebra enrollment, middle school honors enrollment, and middle school advanced enrollment.
These data are the best indicator of PCS’s efforts to have equitable participation in accelerated coursework. Continuing the use of automated scheduling protocols that are based on student data for advanced mathematics at the middle school level and improving the fidelity to the AVID program requirement for all AVID students to be scheduled into the most rigorous courses available has proven to make a difference in the enrollment numbers as you will see throughout this section of the report. The gains in this area are significant when you take into consideration the importance of student preparation for advanced and accelerated coursework.
The data indicate progress in every open access category reviewed, with a slight decrease in dual enrollment. This slight decrease is attributed to the counselors and administrators gaining a stronger understanding of the impacts of dual enrollment on their students after high school, particularly the risks associated with taking dual enrollment. The impact of poor grades in dual enrollment classes can be catastrophic in terms of post-secondary financial aid as well as the college admissions processes if students underperform. This information is communicated with students more clearly and consistently that it has been in the past so that they are making well informed decisions when choosing between AP and dual enrollment options.
Accelerated Course Participation Analysis:
- While the number of students taking AP courses increased by 8.1%,the number of black students taking AP courses increased by 22.1%, thereby increasing the percentage of black AP students from 9.8% to 11.1%. Likewise, the number of AP courses that are taken by black students increased from 8.7% to 10.0%. Overall the three year trend shows a continued decrease in the gap between black and nonblack students accessing AP courses.
- While the number of dual enrollment students and classes taken each showed a slight decline overall from 2228 taking 9937 dual enrollment classes to 2196 students taking 9521 dual enrollment classes, the number of black students accessing dual enrollment did show a slight increase from 246 to 252 students.
- More importantly, when considering DE and AP combined or access to college level courses, we see an overall increase in the number and percentage of unique black students as well as the number and percentage of enrollments for the black student group, which surpass the increased enrollments in the non-black group. Overall the data indicates that the black subgroup moved from being 8.8% of the students who account for 7.1% of the enrollment to being 10.1% of the students who account for 8.1% of the enrollments.
- While the number of middle school students taking Honors courses increased by approximately 49%,the number of black middle school students taking Honors courses increased by approximately 135%, thereby increasing the percentage of black middle school Honors students from 8.5% to 12.7%. Likewise, the number of Honors courses that are taken by black middle school students increased from 7.9% to 11.1%.
- Algebra enrollments in middle school rely greatly on the automated scheduling protocols. With the re-introduction of Algebra I and the continuation of Algebra I Honors, the percentage of black students gaining this foundation while still in middle school increased significantly. While the overall enrollment in Algebra I courses in the middle school increased by 7.1%, the black enrollment in these courses increased by 57.1%. Black students increased from representing 8.1% of the middle school Algebra I students to representing 11.9% of them.
- The increase in black student participation in high school Honors courses outpaced the overall increase, again demonstrating greater growth in this area for the black subgroup than the nonblack subgroup. Black student participation in Honors courses at the high school level increased from 14.7% to 15.7% of the population and from 13.1% to 14.2% of the enrollments.
- The increase in black student participation in middle school Algebra and M/J Advanced courses also outpaced the overall increase, demonstrating greater growth in this area for the black subgroup than the nonblack subgroup. Black student participation in Algebra increased from 11.9% to 12.5% and M/J Advanced courses increased from 14.0% to 16.2% of the population and from 13.5% to 16.0% of the enrollments.
As we review this enrollment data, we see a great deal of growth in the area of placement of students. However, we continue to look for ways to improve the intentional practices related to insuring black students not only have access to accelerated coursework, but are appropriately counseled regarding course selection and provided the support necessary to be successful in the most rigorous courses appropriate for each individual student.
The AVID recruitment processes in preparation for 2016-17 continue to be implemented with intentionality. The AVID Coordinator from each school is trained and supported in accessing reports related to student data to drive recruitment efforts. Reports that include a multitude of data elements such as unweighted and weighted GPA, most recent FCAT 2.0 reading and math scores, PSAT 8/9 or PSAT/NMSQT scores, EOC scores, race, gender, grade, and current AVID status were provided to each school in January for the students who will return in 2016-17 (6th & 7th graders at the MS and 9th-11th graders at the HS). From these reports, potential AVID students were identified based on the difference between unweighted and weighted GPA, test scores, and how the test scores compare to the GPA values. Once identified based on these factors, an effort was made to invite each identified student to participate in AVID. For every identified student in the black subgroup, this invitation was to be both formal and personal. Schools are now pulling the same reports for their incoming students (6th & 9th grade) to invite them to be part of AVID as well. The AVID District Directors monitor the status of each school and have had checkpoints along the way to insure that we interject support in the schools that may not have self-identified the need for it. Given the three year trends in the data, we have every reason to believe that this process will continue to make a difference in the increased participation of black students in advanced and accelerated courses.
Additionally for all students at the high school level, we have refined a report that shows the students who have demonstrated potential to be successful in AP courses and their status for each course in which they show potential. The report color codes the status for each course with potential – highlighted in green if it is a course the student has taken/is taking, yellow if the student has a course request for next year, and red if the student has not taken nor is requesting the course. This report is sent to the principal and assistant principal for curriculum weekly beginning in early March.
Administrative Staff Assignment and Faculty
The district is committed to continue support of minority administrative staff assignments at all school levels, in central administration, and in the general geographic apportionment that are at least as equitable as levels that existed in the 1998-1999 school year.
The district is also commitment to continue support of minority instructional staff assignments at all school levels and in the general geographic apportionment. The district will maintain a “critical shortage” designation of black teachers so long as the percentage of black students within the district is two or more points higher than the percentage of black teachers.
District Monitoring and Advisory Committee (DMAC)
Discussion of progress achieved on points of understanding in Memorandum of Understanding.