File: IFF (pdf)
Adopted: February 13, 1997
Revised: April 24, 2001, May 28, 2002, September 9, 2003, August 24, 2004
SCHOOLS OF CHOICE
The Board of Education encourages the development of a variety of high quality educational programs, options, or alternatives for students and parents that may best fit their particular educational needs or preferences. All schools in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) prepare students to meet or exceed the content standards in each subject area. All District schools except charter schools implement the adopted curriculum of the District.
Each school in the District is considered a school of choice. Neighborhood schools are available as a choice within designated attendance areas or through open enrollment, space permitting, and are the predominant choice among public school families. Other school formats available in the School District include focus school programs, strands, and charter schools.
DEFINITIONS OF SCHOOLS OF CHOICE
Neighborhood Schools: Neighborhood schools are primarily available for the enrollment of students residing within the designated attendance boundaries approved by the Board of Education. Students who reside outside a neighborhood school's attendance boundaries may also attend that neighborhood school, subject to the District's open enrollment policy (Policy JECC, Assignment of Students to Schools). Each neighborhood school provides a unique educational opportunity.
Focus School Programs: Focus school programs include both educational programs in separate schools and identifiable programs within neighborhood schools. Focus school programs, while implementing the School District curriculum to meet District standards, have a distinct theme or philosophy that may include varying instructional methodologies, different sequences for instruction, and supplementary content.
Focus school programs are also identifiable by the origin of their programs. Neighborhood schools may develop their own identifiable focus, and therefore should be referred to as "neighborhood focus schools." Focus school programs may also be originated by a group outside a neighborhood school and when they are located in a school setting will be designated as "focus schools."
A strand is a previously approved focus school program that has been implemented in another District school. Governance for the strand will be the same as that for the neighborhood school in which the strand is located.
Charter Schools: A charter school is a public, non-sectarian, non-religious, non-home-based school within the School District that has received a charter from the Board of Education as provided by state law. A charter school may differ from neighborhood schools and focus school programs in various ways. Differences include, but are not limited to: the authorization it has received from the Board to implement a different curriculum; to establish a separate governance structure; and to negotiate the amount and application of funds.
PROCESS FOR INITIATING AND APPROVING APPLICATIONS FOR FOCUS SCHOOL STATUS
I. GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR FOCUS SCHOOL APPLICATIONS
The following principles form an essential background for the consideration of
proposals for focus school status for any school program (including "school within a
school") in the Boulder Valley School District:
- The Board of Education of Boulder Valley School District has set as a priority collaborative efforts among staff, parents, community members, and students, when appropriate, to plan for school improvement.
- Student achievement, the identified needs and expectations of the community, and the body of knowledge about effective education are of prime consideration in planning for school improvement or restructuring.
- Programs resulting from focus implementation efforts must be consistent with the curriculum and the curriculum policies approved by the Board of Education of the Boulder Valley School District.
- Programs resulting from focus implementation efforts must be responsible for student achievement that meets or exceeds the BVSD student content standards.
- In order to ensure equity in learning for all students, the process for administering each school must be consistent with all policies of the Boulder Valley School District regarding personnel and school governance.
- The district will consider waiver(s) of district or state policy(ies) for any school(s) as long as the waivers are consistent with legal and ethical concerns.
II. PROCESS FOR INITIATING REQUEST TO BE RECOGNIZED AS A FOCUS SCHOOL
When either the members of a school and parent community or an outside group have collaboratively explored needs and ideas for a focus school, the principal will submit to the Superintendent a letter of request to explore options that may result in development of a focus school. If approval is given, an application can then be made to the Superintendent to become designated as a focus school, with a specified emphasis or a specialized program within a school.
Following is the process for being considered for focus school status:
A. Letter of Request
The principal will submit a letter of request to study issues raised and explore options to address identified needs. The Superintendent will respond within 30 days. If approval is granted, the following steps will be taken.
B. Develop a Proposal
(See attached information for proposal format.) Planning and proposal development is expected to take a school year.
C. Submit proposal to the Superintendent's Office
The proposal should be sent to the Office of the Superintendent for review and recommendation.
D. Additional information, when needed
The Superintendent or designee will request additional information, when needed, from the contact person noted on the application.
The proposal will be reviewed by two committees: a Review Committee chaired by the Superintendent or his/her designee and representatives of staff and administrators; and DAC or its designated subcommittee. DAC's AdministrativeLiaison will be responsible for getting information to the committee and for reporting to the superintendent. A DAC representative will present a report to the
Board of Education regarding its review of the proposal.
The Superintendent or designee will recommend action to the Board of Education in a timely fashion.
The members of the Board of Education will consider the proposal and act upon the recommendation. The response will be communicated in a timely fashion and will be directed to those listed as proposing the program. The response will indicate reason(s) why the proposal was approved or denied.
III. PROCESS FOR INITIATING REQUEST TO BE ESTABLISHED AS A FOCUS SCHOOL THAT IS INITIATED FROM OUTSIDE A SCHOOL AND ITS PARENT COMMUNITY
The process for a group outside a school who wishes to develop a proposal for a focus school or program is the same as section II above. In lieu of the principal's letter, however, a representative of the group will submit a letter to the Superintendent requesting an approval to explore options that may result in the creation of a focus school.
After receiving approval to begin the formal focus school/program application process from the Superintendent, the timeline is as follows:
A. The planning and proposal development process will take place over the course of a school year.
B. Proposals for programs for the school year following the planning year where space in a school is already determined and agreed upon:
- Submit proposal to Supt.... No later than October 15
- Response received... Prior to the O.E. period
C. Proposals for programs for the school year following the planning year where space must be located if the program is approved:
- Submit proposal to Supt.... No later than Sept. 1
- Response received... Within 4 weeks of submission
- Submit proposal to... (pending DAC's review) Facility Use Committee No later than October 1
- Response received... Within 4 weeks of submission (pending DAC's review)
Following this timeline will enable program advocates to hold informational meetings and include program descriptions in the student registration materials.
If a focus school is approved, its proposal will be formally reviewed every three years. Changes may be recommended at any time by the school community or by the district.
BOULDER VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT
FOCUS SCHOOL APPLICATION
Before initiating a focus school application, the principal will submit to the Superintendent/designee a letter of request to study issues raised and explore options to address identified needs. After approval has been received, the school community will begin its year of planning and proposal development. The final application packet to be submitted to the Superintendent will include the following:
1. A brief overview and history of how and why the proposal developed.
2. A description of collaboration to this point. Include a list of people who participated in the proposal development described above. Described efforts made to include a diverse representation of people.
3. A description of the program
- Statement of Mission
- Evidence of support for the program from staff, community and families indicating support for the program.
- Description of educational program. Include in the program proposal a brief (100 words) abstract that can be used as a press release or in other ways to describe the proposed program.
- Description of resources to be used. Include personnel, facility, financial, and time resources. Resources planned must be within the school allocation. Please see the Budget Office for assistance.
- Staff development needed and plan for time during which the professional development will occur.
- Evidence that the program will be effective. Include evaluations of comparable programs and/or evaluative research that supports the proposal.
- Expected outcomes for students.
- Plan for evaluation that is ongoing as an integrated part of your School Improvement Plan.
o For a focus school proposal for a school-within-a-school, describe alternatives available for staff and/or students who may not be participating in the school-within-a-school.
o For as focus school proposal that involves an entire school, describe alternatives for staff and/or students who prefer not to participate.
o Description of the possible impact of this proposal on other schools in the District and describe how problems will be addressed.