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Student Opportunity Act

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Student Opportunity Act Overview

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What is the Student Opportunity Act (SOA)?

Signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on November 26, 2019, the Student Opportunity Act will provide additional Chapter 70 aid to chronically underfunded school districts beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.

What are the requirements of the SOA?

To qualify for the incremental Chapter 70 aid increase provided by the SOA, Brockton must submit a three-year Student Opportunity Plan to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) by April 1, 2020.

What is the goal of the Student Opportunity Plan?

A key requirement of the Student Opportunity Act is that funds must be used to create or strengthen existing evidence-based programs aimed at closing student opportunity and achievement gaps. The Student Opportunity Plan is the district’s way of outlining those programs and redoubling its commitment to offerings that specifically address the needs of our students.

DESE has given districts the following specific guidance/recommendations for crafting the plans:

1. Intentionally focus on student subgroups who are not achieving at the same level as their peers.

2. Adopt, deepen or continue specific evidence-based programs to close opportunity and achievement gaps for student subgroups and allocate resources to support these programs.

3. Monitor success in reducing disparities in achievement among student subgroups over three years with a small number of metrics and targets.

4. Engage all families, particularly those families representing student subgroups most in need of support, about how to best meet their students' needs.

How can I get involved in providing feedback/ideas?

The Student Opportunity Plan will be written after an extensive push for stakeholder feedback. We encourage all our families, students and staff members to get engaged, share ideas and ask questions.

We ask every staff member to attend a series of forums hosted by Superintendent Thomas and BEA President Kim Gibson. Information about those forums will be shared via email.

Families and students are encouraged to attend a School Committee meeting or a Finance Subcommittee meeting. The SOA will be a key topic of discussion at these meetings through the month of March. You may also call the Superintendent’s Office at 508-580-7511 or email superintendent@bpsma.org. The Superintendent will be scheduling forums for parents and members of the community as well. Those dates will be posted on the website and shared with families via the district’s text message and all-call systems.

How much additional funding will Brockton receive?

While the budget still needs to go through the legislative process, the figures released by the Governor’s Office in January would provide the district with approximately $8 million in discretionary funds for FY2021. For a full breakdown of the Governor's proposed funding for our FY2021 budget, please click here.

DESE's 17 Examples of Evidence-Based Programs

The following are examples of the types of programming that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would like to see implemented with funding from the Student Opportunity Act. The Brockton Public Schools will work with the School Committee and community stakeholders to select evidence-based programming that addresses the specific needs of our students.

Enhanced Core Instruction

1. Expanded access to full-day, high-quality pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds, including potential collaboration with other local providers.

2. Research-based early literacy programs in pre-kindergarten and early elementary grades.

3. Early College programs focused primarily on students underrepresented in higher education.

4. Supporting educators to implement high-quality, aligned curriculum.

5. Expand access to career-technical education, including "After Dark" district-vocational partnerships and innovation pathways reflecting labor market priorities.

Targeted Student Supports

6. Increased personnel and services to support holistic student needs.

7. Inclusion/co-teaching for students with disabilities and English learners.

8. Acceleration Academies and/or summer learning to support skill development and accelerate advanced learners.

9. Dropout prevention and recovery programs.

Talent Development

10. Diversifying the educator/administrator workforce through recruitment and retention.

11. Leadership pipeline development programs for schools.

12. Increased staffing to expand student access to arts, athletics, and enrichment, and strategic scheduling to enable common planning time for teachers.

13. Strategies to recruit and retain educators/administrators in hard-to-staff schools and positions.

Conditions for Student Success

14. Community partnerships for in-school enrichment and wraparound services.

15. Parent-teacher home visiting programs.

16. Labor-management partnerships to improve student performance.

17. Facilities improvements to create healthy and safe school environments.

Evidence-based program categories listed in the Student Opportunity Act:

A) Expanded learning time in the form of a longer school day or year.

B) Increased opportunity for common planning time for teachers.

C) Social services to support students' social-emotional and physical health.

D) Hiring school personnel that best support improved student performance.

E) Increased or improved professional development.

 F) Purchase of curriculum materials and equipment that are aligned with the statewide curriculum frameworks.

G) Expanded early education and pre-kindergarten programming within the district in consultation or in partnership with community-based organizations.

H) Diversifying the educator and administrator workforce.

I) Developing additional pathways to strengthen college and career readiness.

J) Any other program determined to be evidence-based by the commissioner.