Please select a title below for information about Performance Qualified School Districts
What is a Performance Qualified School District?
Across our State, school districts are striving diligently to meet, and exceed, standards of excellence set by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). This effort to Measure Up! responds to a myriad of expectations including new curriculum standards (Common Core Standards) while it resonates to the imperative of preparing globally competitive graduates. Working in conjunction with previously announced expectations of the IDOE (eg. “Four Star School” status; Advanced Placement Testing; 90% Graduation Rate), school districts have demonstrated a propensity to respond positively to the academic aspiration embedded in these benchmarks.
It goes without saying that all students in our State deserve the opportunity to benefit from schools and school districts where the highest standards are academically “in play” throughout the curriculum and day-to-day instruction. It also goes without saying that IDOE, schools, and school districts are working diligently to add capacity for high achievement across our state and, thereby, add capacity for our students’ future success. Regardless of location within our State, educators are united in their eagerness to provide the academic rigor which is required to make Hoosier students globally competitive. Inspiring dedicated schools, educators, and students with a high standards goal like Performance Qualified status can be accomplished by working with the rubric and benchmarks that signal attainment of this designation. Opening doors to high achievement via Performance Qualified schools designation is the action that dedicated educators from the State level to the Local level seek. Making this dedication come alive is the premise behind the concept advanced within this document: Performance Qualified School District status.
Put succinctly, the Performance Qualified School District concept is what should be the future for education in the State of Indiana. All of our children deserve the chance to flourish as a result of their learning experiences in schools and classes that exemplify the standard of performance that constitutes essence of this concept. Thus, establishing this concept as a status, or designation, accessible by school districts and/or schools in our state is tantamount to building the college- and career-ready future that all Hoosier children must have to compete as adults.
Automatic Waivers Granted to Performance Qualified School Districts
When a school district is designated as a “high performing school district”, several applicable segments of Indiana Code, that otherwise apply to school districts, are waived automatically for the school corporation. It is the intent of CCS to seek to work collaboratively with the Department of Education (IDOE) to create this designation so that school corporations across Indiana can take steps on a continuous improvement pathway that leads to Performance Qualified School District status. By attaining this status, a school corporation will receive an automatic waiver of these elements of statute and Rule:
- IC 20-18-2-17 and IC 20-30-2-3: The school corporation shall conduct at least 180 student instructional days. (Programs conducted under the aegis of Performance Qualified School District status, especially those associated with college/university coursework, generally will not involve students in 180 days of instruction as befits a schedule that builds the “habits of mind” needed for post-secondary learning.)
- IC 20-30-2-4: If a school corporation does not conduct the minimum number of student instructional days, the Indiana Department of Education is required to impose a financial penalty against the corporation. (No financial penalty will be imposed because the school district is not required to conduct the minimum number of student instructional days.)
- IC 20-30-2-7: A school district is required to conduct a school term that is a minimum of 9 months long. (A Performance Qualified School District’s programs—especially those held in conjunction with other agencies, institutions, or service providers—may be constructed of terms that are less than 9 months in length.)
- IC 20-30-2-2(a): A student instructional day consists of a minimum of five (5) hours of instructional time in Grades 1 through 6 and six (6) hours of instructional time in Grades 7 through 12. (Instructional days for students who attend Performance Qualified School Districts may not meet minimum hours because of programs involve service learning; mentoring younger students; shadowing business/professional leaders; etc.)
- IC 20-30-14-2-6: Performance Qualified School Districts will not be subject to application requirements, eligibility, reporting, and hours certification for Community or Volunteer Service Programs. These school districts will NOT give academic credit for such Service Learning and will comply with rules for safety, etc., as stipulated in IC 20-30-14-9. (Students participating in Service Learning programs conducted via Performance Qualified School Districts already will have earned the appropriate and requisite numbers of credits to earn at least a Core 40 Diploma so will not need credit hours for their assigned service learning.)
These Rules will not apply to students duly enrolled by the school corporation in programs, courses, combined college initiatives and all other initiatives duly identified by the school corporation as part of a high performing schools designation.
Automatic Approval of Existing State Statute/Rules
The creation of “high performing school district” status is consistent with, and inspired by, the baseline for higher performance mirrored in current State of Indiana Rules. These current regulations form the conceptual foundation for the expansion to even higher standards represented in the designation “high performing school district”. Schools across the State currently strive to reach the higher level of performance embodied in these Rules. In the future, designation as a “high performing school district” will build on the foundation provided by these Rules while it takes the demand for the highest level of school and student performance to an entirely new dimension.
Setting the tone for even higher standards than now are sought, allows schools and the IDOE to perpetuate our drive to lead the nation in terms of student academic performance. Thus, designation as a Performance Qualified school district constitutes automatic approval (or automatic waiver) of these existing statutes/rules for each of these school corporations:
IC 20-33-2-17.5 Compulsory attendance; exceptions; educational related nonclassroom activity:
- Performance Qualified School District programs and courses will involve a wide range of embedded nonclassroom activities that not only facilitate the attainment of specific educational objectives but will be unique educational opportunities that are part of the goals/objectives of the curriculum of these school corporations.
IC 21-43-4-2 – 17: Postsecondary Enrollment Program:
- Performance Qualified School Districts will be permitted to carry out any all aspects of these sections of the Indiana Code. Enrollment in postsecondary programs with dual credit and/or credit from the university/college will be just one of the higher-order learning opportunities that automatically become part of the offerings of these designated school corporations.
511 IAC 6-8-2 Waiver to implement nonstandard courses and curriculum programs:
- Meeting and exceeding higher standards than those contained in current expectations means engaging students in habits of mind that prepare them to make a difference in the global society of the 21st Century. Designation as a “high performing school district” will involve CCS in these activities for each of the higher-order programs, courses, seminars, course combinations, lab experiences, colloquia, and other similar learning experiences:
- Provide data/evidence that each of these experiences better serves our students.
- Conduct continuing evaluation of the effectiveness of these experiences and provide the DOE with annual reports of the data/evidence gathered during these evaluations.
511 IAC 6-8-5 Rlationship with performance-based accreditation:
- Designation as a Performance Qualified School District will mean that these corporations are accredited as noted in this Rule and, thus, are automatically permitted to implement nonstandard course or curriculum programs described in the school corporation’s improvement plan. In the Carmel Clay Schools, the District Accreditation Leadership Team (DALT) is the district’s improvement team and, as such, works in conjunction with all school improvement teams and the Board of Education to create excellence.
511 IAC 6-9.1-2-3 Program Requirements (Programs & Rule Waivers for High Ability Students):
- Carmel Clay Schools students involved in programs, courses, seminars, course combinations, lab experiences, internships, colloquia, and other similar learning experiences in grades K-12 that are undertaken as part of the district’s “high performing school district” designation are ipso facto involved in a program for high ability students. By virtue of attaining “high performing school district” status, a school district has automatic permission to waive curriculum, graduation, and/or other relevant rules that would otherwise prevent students from participating in the programs, courses, seminars, course combinations, lab experiences, colloquia, and other similar learning experiences designated as academic routes toward meeting/exceeding the highest standards.
With these Rules as precedents for the programmatic flexibility that must attend designation as a high performing school district, there are several obstacles to reaching higher standards that would be eliminated. Thus, students would be able to participate in a dynamic, panoramic, realm of learning experiences available from each Performance Qualified School District. Ultimately, these students, their communities, and our State will benefit because Indiana’s young people are thus prepared to be globally competitive.
In addition, Performance Qualified School Districts will utilize existing, approved, high school course titles to provide a plethora of challenging, exceptional quality, learning experiences. These courses include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- 5256 Professional Career Internship
- 4564 Advanced Business, College Credit
- 5238 Advanced Career & Technical Education, College Credit
- 1124 Advanced English/Language Arts, College Credit
- 4260 Advanced Fine Arts, College Credit
- 3508 Current Health Issues
- 5208 Introduction to Community Health Services
- 5990 Marketing Field Experience
- 5988 Marketing Management Seminar
- 2544 Advanced Mathematics, College Credit
- 0530 Career Exploration Internship
- 0524 Community Service
- 0514 Humanities
- 0518 Musical Theatre
- 3090 Advanced Science, College Credit
- 3092 Advanced Science, Special Topics
- 3008 Science Research, Independent Study
- 1574 Advanced Social Studies, College Credit
- 1512 Current Problems, Issues & Events
- 1538 Topics in History
- 1550 Topics in Social Science
- 2152 Advanced World Language, College Credit
Facilitating Performance Qualified Programs Such As:
Let’s take students into the realm of high quality academic and intellectual programs that are inspired and enabled by the high performing school district designation. Going beyond the expectations embedded in average standards demands both raising the bar for instruction and for learning experiences. Just some of the possible programs that we envision to create these conditions include:
- Carmel College Professorship(s): CCS seeks to exceed the highest academic standards so that our students maximize their preparation for the future challenges that face our State and Nation in an increasingly global society. To do this, we seek to increase the rigor, relevance, and engagement of Senior Year at Carmel High School by creating learning partnerships with outstanding colleges via endowed “Professorships”. Briefly put, this concept would include a partnership whereby professors would teach CHS seniors in key subject or seminar areas during Senior Year. While the concept of endowing a “chair” or “professorship” via a high school-university connection is both unusual, and fiscally challenging, this possibility provides the opportunity for higher order learning in a dual credit (both college and high school credit) format.
- Career & Community Service Internships: Moving forward with the effort by CCS to raise-the-bar via college experiences at CHS is our hope to create a solid set of Internships within our community to serve as what amount to “community classrooms” for our students. These Internships would be established with businesses, companies, and/or governmental/service agencies to provide CHS students with the opportunity to apply ideas as they experience the combination of skills that it takes to succeed in the world beyond any academic institution. With the solid partnership our school district already has with the Carmel Chamber of Commerce and a wide range of civic and service organizations in our community, we believe these internships will have a stimulating effect on learning for our young people.
- Greyhound Senior Semester Scholarships: Another possible way to achieve our goal of exceeding the highest academic standards is to establish what we would call the “Greyhound Senior Semester”. Briefly put, this would be an opportunity for students at CHS during the second semester of their Senior Year to participate in college seminars, college labs, applied inquiry collegia, and/or other similar organized semester-long learning structures that engage cohorts of CHS students in the pursuit of concepts and other constructs from subject-area disciplines whose purpose is to take the thinking and habits of mind of our students into the collegiate realm. The Greyhound Senior Semester, then, would provide opportunities for students who demonstrate their preparation for such endeavors to explore these ideas under the guidance of CHS teachers and/or college professors.
- Visiting Thinker Program: Our Elementary and Middle Schools already have many opportunities in place where knowledgeable guests come to the classroom or school to share their expertise with our children. But, given that our curriculum and instruction are constantly improving—currently by growing into the Common Core Standards—the future for learning in grades K-8 could be enhanced dramatically by establishing, and funding, what could be called the “Visiting Thinker Program”. This would be a programmatic partnership between the Carmel Education Foundation, the CIA (Division of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment), and teachers/Carmel Clay Education Association. Designed to engage the brightest and best individuals from around Central Indiana to work collaboratively with our teachers on identified units, projects, or other learning experiences, the “Visiting Thinker Program” would provide active learning that builds upon, and extends, the great work that our teachers create in their classrooms. In a way, this program is a mini-model of the “Greyhound Senior Semester”; a kind of (brief) seminar for our younger students that prepares them intellectually to explore, wonder, and imagine in reflective, thoughtful, engaging, and energetic ways.
- College Learning Launching Pad: A high performing school district will engage with Indiana colleges/universities that significant numbers of their graduates attend. For CCS, this would involve IU and Purdue. Collaboration between the school district and the college will mean freshman-level courses that are NOT accommodated by successful performance on AP exams will be offered to inspire students to a level of achievement that launches them into higher level studies at college.
- BIG Ideas Colloquia: Noted thinkers (from business, from academia, from the professions, from public service) would present ideas-for-consideration in a colloquia format. The presenter’s ideas (shared in a 30-45 minute segment with a large group) would be followed students divided into smaller, seminar, groups to discuss, argue, debate, and consider the ideas within the presentation with the task of preparing their own researched statement about the BIG Idea presentation.
- Problems of Inquiry: Reasoned, thoughtful, reflective problem-solving that takes advantage of the panoramic learning of CCS students would be the focus of the “Problems of Inquiry” seminars. Whether stated in advance for a specific seminar, or determined by the students who gather with a teacher/professor in a given seminar, the Problem after which the seminar inquires must meet a priori standards of rigor as must the general nature of the process utilized to generate a response and solutions to the problem. Using an “entry document” approach to launch both instruction and learning, these seminars would engage students in the panoramic pursuit of knowledge within yet another responsive classroom in the Carmel Clay Schools.
Carmel Clay Schools: A High Performing School District
Just as the State has recognized the importance of meeting the needs of high ability students, there’s a great deal to be gained by recognizing the broad range of learning and teaching aspirations that drive high performing school districts. Identifying these districts via established benchmarks within the rubric elements discussed above, engages our State in the pursuit of excellent outcomes for all students. This, in turn, provides students with the intellectual and personal capital they need to make a difference, to craft a future of consequence, as they grow into productive, globally involved, citizens.
Just as other public schools (Charter Schools) are permitted to expand the meaning of their academic impact on students by jettisoning State regulations that stand in the way of true high achievement, the designation as a high performing school district will permit public schools to go beyond current expectations of proficiency because various identified regulations will no longer be in force and in conflict with the higher standards permitted by this designation.
The result of collaboration between the IDOE and high performing school districts across the State will be dramatic. Taking the higher level curriculum standards and research-based best practices as the fuel for this partnership, these schools and the IDOE will extend the important work of providing Indiana students with the most globally-connected learning available. Furthermore, the future for our State and for the students across our State will be rooted in the quality academic performance that our young people must attain to be truly effective and competitive as they become adults. The opportunity to create the designation of high performing school district is before us. Indeed, the opportunity for the State to help craft High Achievement Zones that knit together several high performing school districts within an identified “zone” that features state-average general fund dollars for each student within the Zone, lies before us as well.
Standing as only one exemplar of a Performance Qualified School District, CCS seeks this designation based on current performance. Working to set up a model that, ultimately, sets a new standard to which all schools can strive, the IDOE and CCS have the unique opportunity to establish the conditions under which our State can honestly say that, when it comes to public education, “our future’s so bright, we’ve got to wear shades!”