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The PROSE Newsletter: April 2016 Issue
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Volume 2 | Issue 8 | April 2016

PROSE Announces PROSE Pathways!

For two years, schools have applied to PROSE because of a desire to access flexibilities from various rules and regulations (state regulations, city regulations and/or union contracts). Typically these requests surfaced organically from schools. For the first time, based on what we have learned from our schools in PROSE, we are offering schools the opportunity to apply to explore five flexibilities we consider very promising in the areas Models of Inter-VisitationSupporting Increased Diversity in Student EnrollmentDistributed Leadership StructuresExpanded Learning Timeand Programming Innovations to Allow for Flexible Student Grouping throughout the Week.  By now you are probably wondering what the differences are between PROSE and PROSE Pathways.
The full PROSE program requires an application that is written by the CSA and UFT members of your school followed by a ratified PROSE vote of 65%. Since the 2016-17 application process is now closed, we are extending these five areas of promising practices to schools who wish to learn more about one or more of these strategies in the 2016–17 school year before deciding whether to apply to become a PROSE school for 2017-2018. If your school community is interested in one or more of these pathways, please click here to complete the form. Once we’ve received the completed form, we will collaborate with you and your school team to ascertain the next steps. If you have any questions, please contact us at prose@schools.nyc.gov and prose@uft.org.

Distributed Leadership Branded at International HS at LaGuardia!

The International High School at LaGuardia Community College offers a multicultural educational environment for recent arrivals to the United States who are all at different stages of learning English as a new language. They are one of the City University of New York’s Early College Initiative High Schools. Their school is also a member of both the Internationals Network for Public Schools and the New York Performance Standards Consortium. As such, they focus on developing and teaching project-based curricula that integrate language and content throughout all subject areas.
 
As a PROSE school, International HS has been able to grow their collaborative leadership structures even more deeply. Some highlights of their PROSE work are:
 
Committee Work: Interdisciplinary teacher teams are the core of the school. Each team sends representatives to each of the committees. Elected teacher chairs facilitate the Student Life Committee, Teaching and Learning Committee, and Personnel Committee. Committees work on organizing and improving upon various aspects of the school that fit into their area and write proposals for their Coordinating Council to consider as needed.
 
Steering Committee: The Steering Committee is an enlarged principal’s cabinet. Each interdisciplinary teacher team sends a representative to work out upcoming school decisions and events. Having a representative from each teacher team allows them to go back to gather team feedback before finalizing all decisions.

Teacher Portfolios: Teachers on the Personnel Committee lead the school in designing the Option PROSE teacher portfolios. International HS has had teacher portfolios and peer evaluation teams for many years, and have now been able to seamlessly incorporate them into the teacher evaluations for MOTP with their work in PROSE.
Team representatives of the Personnel Committee have worked together with the elected Personnel Chair to schedule and chair all teacher portfolios throughout the year. Then a post-portfolio meeting involves the teacher presenting, the teacher chair of the portfolio, the elected chair of the Personnel Committee, and the principal.
 
Decision-Making Pathways: At International HS, there is a commitment to consensus and inclusion. Decisions can be made in one of the following ways:
  • Teams: Interdisciplinary teacher teams are the first-line of decision-making in the school. Teams make decisions that impact teachers and students most directly.
  • Steering Committee: Team representatives seek feedback from their teams and return to Steering for a final discussion and decision.
  • Coordinating Council: Team representatives share the agenda with respective team members the week before and carry team voice to the meeting. They pass or deny proposals based on consensus.
  • Faculty Forum: When the school community faces larger decisions, they discuss the issues as a whole faculty. They then pass or deny proposals based on whole-faculty consensus.
 
International High School’s work with PROSE has allowed them the opportunity to dedicate time to strengthening structures for collaborative decision-making and a distributed leadership. International HS at LaGCC looks forward to continued creativity with their collaborative model.
 April 22 - Applications for Short-Cycle Evaluation Challenge: The iZone is looking for teacher teams of 4-6 educators who are interested in piloting an instructional educational technology tool (website, app, or software) that helps them better support their ENL (English as a New Language) or foreign language students. The product matching process kicks off at the end of this school year. The pilot itself takes place over twelve weeks in the fall. Click Here to Learn More!!!

 May 3 - Option PROSE Structured Review: The PROSE Panel is convening with all PROSE schools currently implementing Option PROSE to provide guidance around the upcoming structured review process. Register Now!

 May 12 - Critical Friends: Central Virtual Model: The PROSE Panel is exploring the possibility of creating a central virtual school model that offers courses to students within PROSE schools.  The idea would be to create virtual classrooms with students across PROSE schools.  Theses classrooms would give students opportunities to earn credits in courses that are not otherwise available to them.  To help us shape this pilot, we invite all PROSE schools on a conference call from 3:30 to 4:30 PM to share thoughts, ideas and promising practices. Register Now!

 May 24, 2016 - PROSE Pathways End-of-Year School Showcase: PROSE welcomes All interested schools to join us for our end-of-year school showcase.  On this celebratory afternoon, we open the floor for exemplary PROSE schools to showcase their innovations in the areas of: Increased Diversity, Models of Inter-Visitation, Distributed Leadership, Expanded Learning Time, and Programming Innovations.  Please join us from 3 - 6 PM at the UFT Headquarters to learn more about  becoming a PROSE community member through our exciting PROSE Pathways!!  Register Now!!
The 2016 School Calendar Workbook:
PROSE schools can create a school year calendar that differs from the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) citywide calendar. Given certain parameters, schools can redistribute their school days and recess days to develop a school year calendar that better suites the needs of their academic innovations. In addition to PROSE panel approval, all calendars must be approved by School Superintendents, and the Division of Operation’s, School Session Time Administration.
 
If you are looking to implement a school calendar that differs from the citywide 2016-17 school year calendar, an updated version of the Calendar Workbook can be found here. Please note: “School Calendar Proposals” go beyond requests for additional PD days. Requests for additional PD days, without moving and/or swapping instructional days, simply requires a Calendar Change Request Application.

Answers to many of the Frequently Asked Questions from PROSE schools have been posted on the PROSE Knowledge Base.
 

PROSE Research Brief:
PROSE is proud to share its 2014 - 15 Research Brief.  This research brief is a dissemination of early findings from a formative evaluation of the Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence initiative (PROSE), which currently includes 126 schools district-wide. The PROSE program was established in 2014 in the latest contracts agreed upon between the New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators (CSA) in order to enable highly collaborative schools to implement innovative practices outside of existing rules. Through this initiative, administrators and teachers in PROSE schools are able to collaboratively engage in school improvement efforts and leverage granted flexibilities in the UFT and/or CSA contracts as well as Chancellor's and/or state regulations to better meet the needs of their students and to inform district-wide practice and policy.

This brief is designed to highlight early successes as well as to identify potential areas of improvement for the program. The purpose of this first  evaluation is to analyze attributes of schools that successfully became a part of PROSE, examine early indicators of the impact that PROSE had on participating schools, and inform the structure of program management and administration to ensure further progress. We encourage you to read this evaluative summary to get a better sense of what PROSE schools have done, and are working to accomplish.
The four-year August graduation rates at Cohort One traditional high schools and secondary schools increased at pace comparable to the citywide average. Graduation rates exceeded 80% in PROSE schools in 2014-15.
"PROSE has strong support from the Mayor and the United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. This might be perplexing to education reform enthusiasts; the PROSE program is a similar version of the charter school model, transposed onto the framework of a traditional public school."
~ Amanda Lefer, NYC Coalition of Community Charter Schools
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