Contracts for Excellence

Approved 2007-08 Plan

The chart below summarizes New York City ’s approved 2007-08 Contracts for Excellence expenditures, classified within Contracts program areas:

Class Size Reduction

$153 million

Time on Task

$48 million

Teacher & Principal Quality Initiatives

$40 million

Middle & High School Restructuring

$17 million

Full-Day Pre-Kindergarten Programs

$180,000

Total Allocations

$258 million

Class Size Reduction
New York City
will invest $152.7 million in class size reduction efforts in FY08 through the Contracts for Excellence ($23 million of which represents Maintenance of Effort dollars targeted towards the City’s neediest elementary schools).

Additionally, as stipulated by the Contracts for Excellence legislation, the City has submitted a Five Year Class Size Reduction Plan. While the major components of the plan – which include a variety of multi-year strategies such as increased school resources, system-wide guidance and targeted coaching, policy adjustments, new school construction, collaborative team teaching and class size data tracking and accountability – remain unchanged from the DOE’s preliminary submission in July 2007, directives from the State Education Department have driven the following significant changes:

1. Class Size Reduction in Low Performing Schools: The revised plan sets specific targets to reduce class sizes and eliminate larger class sizes during the next five years, both across the system and in targeted coaching schools. Additionally, the DOE has agreed to reduce the number of students per class to fewer than 25 by the 2011-12 school year in 75 low-performing schools with average class sizes of 29 or above as identified by the SED.

2. Contract for Excellence Allocations: The class size reduction plan reflects adjustments related to the SED’s funding allocation guidelines.

3. Five-Year Components of the Plan: We have designed the New York City Five Year Class Size Reduction plan strategies both for sustainability over a five-year period and for capacity to adapt to external factors and longer-term targets established by the State Commissioner. This adjusted submission highlights the long-term dimensions of the New York City Class Size Reduction plan by re-articulating the principles behind each component strategy and by affirming specific long-term commitments.

4. School Level Projections and Enrollment Impact: The DOE’s plan includes school-level detail on the projected first year impact of the Five Year Class Size Reduction Plan. In addition, the plan clarifies the New York City Department’s of Education’s commitment to maintain reduced class sizes even should enrollment declines result in reduced funding for impacted schools.

Student Time on Task
In keeping with past efforts to increase instructional time and to intervene with struggling students, schools have scheduled $48 million in time on task initiatives through the Contracts for Excellence, including tutoring programs, after-school programs, and weekend sessions. An additional $2.8 million will sustain existing before and after school programs and tutoring initiatives in 80 of the City’s neediest schools through Maintenance of Effort funds.

Previous iterations of the DOE’s Contracts for Excellence proposal have included a model for Periodic Assessments, as a “response to intervention program” that would drive improved time on task. This is no longer an element of the proposal.

Teacher and Principal Quality Initiatives
The DOE will build on past teacher and principal quality initiatives in two ways through the Contracts for Excellence. Two hundred forty-six schools themselves have scheduled $16.2 million in professional development. Citywide, the DOE likewise proposes $13.6 million for Children First Intensive, a yearlong cycle of professional development to embed the practice of evidence-based individualized instruction, self-evaluation, and continuous improvement in every school. The amount of this proposed expenditure has been adjusted so as to reflect spending only on “high-needs” schools.

Nearly 20,000 principals, teachers, and collaborative networks of improving schools will receive large-scale, ongoing school-based leadership and development and support through Children First Intensive during the 2007-2008 school year.

Through $1.4 million in Contracts funds, DOE will also introduce a pilot Lead Teacher-Special Education Program. Building on the successes of the general education Lead Teacher program, the program’s purpose is to attract and retain high quality teachers in our schools that serve students with disabilities—particularly high-need middle and high schools—as a means to develop the skills of teachers in that school and to raise academic outcomes for students with disabilities.

Lead Teachers of Special Education split their time between regular classroom teaching assignments and providing professional support to teaching staff. Contracts funds will supplement the salaries of such talented special educators in 13 schools.

Finally, 61 schools are allocating $3.4 million in Maintenance of Effort dollars towards existing programs designed to support a continuous cycle of learning for all levels of teachers and school leaders.

Middle School and High School Restructuring
Improving middle schools and high schools is a longstanding priority for the Department of Education. The Department’s Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation (OMPG) works to support the development of schools and programs designed specifically for older students who may be truant, thinking about dropping out, or looking for another educational option. OMPG’s programs enhance the traditional high school models for such students by providing alternate learning environments:

Young Adult Borough Centers (YABCs): evening academic programs designed to meet the needs of high school students who might be considering dropping out due to being behind or because of adult responsibilities that make attending school in the daytime difficult.
Learning to Work (LTW) programs: in-depth job readiness and career exploration, the goals of which are to assist students in overcoming some of the obstacles that impede their progress toward a high school diploma and lead them toward rewarding post-secondary employment and educational experiences.

Contracts for Excellence funds in the amount of $5.9 million will go towards funding two brand new YABC programs and Learning to Work components of five new transfer schools. These programs provide services over and above the basic education that comprehensive high schools offer to help re-engage students.

New York City’s past investments in the areas of middle and high school restructuring have had dramatic effects on the lives of thousands of children. As part of an effort to restructure additional failing schools, the DOE is investing $4.3 million in 60 of the City’s lowest performing 6-8 schools to fund programs that will help recruit and retain high quality school leaders and teachers, utilize research based professional development, enhance guidance support and services, develop rigorous instructional programs, and enhance effective family partnerships.

An additional 41 existing middle and high schools, serving over 40,000 students, will take on scheduling and curricular changes as well, totaling $6.6 million of Contracts funds.

Full-day Pre-Kindergarten
While the DOE contributed $48 million to Pre-kindergarten programs in 2007, most funding for Pre-kindergarten comes from State and Federal sources, and most programming is for half-day classrooms. This year several DOE schools proposed adding or augmenting full-day Pre-kindergarten programs, for a total cost of approximately $200,000. While this represents an encouraging trend, the investment represents the smallest overall investment within the Contracts for Excellence program areas.