State Conducts Comprehensive Review of BPS
District-wide focus on systems, policies, and practices in service of student success
From October 21st through October 31st, the State’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) conducted an onsite visit to the Boston Public Schools (BPS) as part of a comprehensive district review process carried out by DESE’s Office of District Reviews and Monitoring (ODRM). ODRM has conducted roughly 20 reviews each year since 2008 when the office was first created. District reviews are routine and occur periodically, but this is the first comprehensive district review of BPS. ODRM conducts research to provide an analysis of a district’s systems, policies, and practices while also keeping in mind equity for underserved groups of students.
Prior to on-site district visits, ODRM reviews data, such as the statewide accountability report, standardized testing, and staffing and enrollment information, in order to tailor the research to the needs of the district. The on-site district visit encompasses interviews, focus groups and classroom observations. The observations do not evaluate individual teachers but rather focus on the district as a whole to identify trends.
The review has six main areas of focus (see chart). ODRM strives to produce a draft report three to four months after the on-site visit. The final published review will include context about BPS, highlight district strengths and challenges, and make recommendations for improvements, which may include action steps and connection to resources.
In the past, comprehensive district reviews coupled with other factors, such as district finances and accountability reports, have led to State interventions. So far, this has only occurred in eight districts. Comprehensive district reviews generally result in recommendations and no further action from the State.
Sections in Comprehensive District Review
|Leadership and Governance||School committee governance, district/school leadership, improvement planning, budget development|
|Curriculum and Instruction||Curriculum selection/use, classroom instruction, access to coursework|
|Assessment||Data collection systems, data use, sharing results|
|Human Resources and Professional Development||Infrastructure, recruitment, hiring, supervision, evaluation, educator/leadership development, recognition, advancement|
|Student Support||Safe and supportive climate and culture, tiered system of support, family/community engagement|
|Financial and Asset Management||Budget documentation and reporting, adequate budget, financial tracking, audits, capital planning, facility maintenance|
Source: Massachusetts DESE 2018-2019 Protocol for Comprehensive District Review