Sussex County Delaware

Complete Text of
Educator Accountability
Act (S.B. 260)

Educator Accountability Act ...

Following is the complete text of the Delaware Professional Development & Accountability Act (Educator Accountability Act, S.B. 260) 2000:

Holding Students, Educators, Schools and Districts Accountable for Meeting High Standards

To succeed in an increasingly competitive world in the 21st Century, Delaware's children must meet high standards. Establishing rigorous standards in core academic subjects -- and attaching consequences for failing to meet them -- creates powerful incentives for schools, students, teachers, administrators and parents to strive for academic excellence.

High Standards for our Children

Established High Standards in Core Academic Areas and Testing to Measure What Kids Know

In 1995, Delaware established rigorous standards in math, science, language arts and social studies. The standards were established by teams of teachers, administrators, parents and employers and represent the skills our children need to be successful in the 21st Century. Students in Grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 are tested against the new standards and the tests measure student performance at the individual, school, state and national levels.

Holding Students Accountable

Ending Social Promotion

With the enactment of Educator Accountability legislation (SB 260), students, beginning in Spring 2002, whose reading skills are well below the standard at the end of 3rd, 5th and 8th grades, will be required to attend summer school and meet the standard to move to the next grade. Students whose math skills fall well below the standard at the end of 8th grade are required to attend summer school and, if their skills do not improve, repeat 8th grade or attend a readiness academy to hone their skills prior to admission to high school.

Getting Students Help Before They Fail

With the enactment of Senate Bill 260, students who do not meet the standards -- begining this spring -- will receive mandatory individual improvement plans that may include up to 20 days of additional learning time on weekends, afterschool, or during the summer. Recognizing that some students will need additional instructional time to meet the new standards, Delaware funds up to 20 days of extra time for one out of every three students.

Making Diplomas Meaningful

With the enactment of SB 260, future Delaware graduates must demonstrate that they meet the 10th grade standards in language arts and math to receive an academic diploma from the State of Delaware. This requirement ensures that our students leave school with the skills they need to meet the challenges of the 21st Century -- whether in the workplace, college or in the military.

Holding Educators Accountable

Educator Accountability for Student Improvement

Recognizing that effective teaches and administrators are critical to our children's education, Delaware's Educator Accountability legislation (Senate Bill 260) ensures that teaches and adminstrators are motivated to help students meet Delaware's standards. Beginning in 2002, at least 20 percent of an educator's performance evaluation will be tied directly to student improvement -- teachers and administrators who fail to measure up can be dismissed. The legislation also establishes a new, more rigorous licensure and certification system requiring teachers and administrators to meet increased professional development requirements and teach in their area of expertise.

Attracting and Retaining the Best and Brightest Teachers

Delaware's ability to recruit and retain highly skilled and effective educators is critical to our students' success. The Educator Accountability legislation (SB 260):

  1. Makes salaries more competitive with other teachers in our region -- with a focus on raising the salaries of starting teachers;

  2. Encourages focused, career-long professional development for all teachers;

  3. and Compensates teachers for taking on additional responsibilities or becoming National Board Certified.
    Holding School and Districts Accountable

    Ensuring School and District Accountability

    Beginning in 2001, schools and districts will be accredited on the basis of their students' achievment. This innovative plan, enacted in 1998, employs a rating system based on student academic improvement. Schools whose students show significant academic improvement will be rated "superior-accredited" and will receive monetary rewards. Schools whose students fail to demonstrate student improvement will be required to develop school improvement plans -- with involvement from local community members. Schools will ultimately be denied state accreditation if their students' academic performance fails to improve.

    Section 2 -- Subchapter I

    To guarantee that those entrusted with the achievement of our students have a voice in the development of policies that affect their profession, the bill establishes a Professional Standards Board which wll propose rules and regulations in the areas of pre-service training, licensure, certification, recruitment, evaluation and professional development. The State Board shall hear and consider the Standards Board's proposals that shall have the force of law when approved by the State Board of Education. The Standards Board will be comprised of 15 members, 8 teachers, 3 administrators, 2 parents, 1 local board member, and 1 representative from higher education -- each of whom shall be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate for three-year terms.

    Section 2 -- Subchapter II

    The Act adopts a new licensure and certification system for Delaware educators that more clearly reflects the importance of professional development. The new three-tiered system will provide an Initial License for new educators, a Continuing License for experienced educators, and an Advanced License for distinguished educators. Applicants for an Initial License will be required to have a college degree and pass basic skills an content level tests prior to teaching in Delaware. The Initial License is valid for three years and will lead to a Continuing License -- based on participation in mentoring and professional development activities. To receive Continuing Certification, the applicant must receive two of three satisfactory evaluations during the Initial Licensing period. The Continuing License is valid for five years and is renewable after completing 90 hours of professional development or as otherwise required by an individual's local improvement plan. An Advanced License is valid for 10 years and will be granted to National Board Certified educators.

    Section 2 -- Subchapters III & IV
    • To more closely align educator evaluations with the Delaware Teacher and Administrator standards, this Act requires the Professional Standards Board to develop a new educator evaluation system called the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS II). DPAS II is to be presented to the State Board for approval by January 1 of 2001.

    • Recognizing that an effective educator is the most significant factor in student achievement, the bill requires that the revised evaluation include a measure of student improvement that shall constitute at least 20 percent of the evaluation. The mesaure of student improvement shall be based on multiple components, one of which shall be an annual assessment and shall take into consideration student absences, mobility, compliance with school rules, and chronic failure by parents to abide by the Parents' Declaration of Responsibilities. Annual student assessments in reading, writing and math will be made available to districts for use in the evaluation beginning in April of 2001. Local school districts also have the flexibility to develop and implement local assessments and use such assessments for the purposes of the DPAS II with the approval of the Secretary of Education and the Professional Standards Board.

    • The Professional Standards Board -- with State Board approval -- will design a rating index to designate an overall annual performance rating and will determine the level of performance that is satisfactory.

    • To ensure that the Delaware Performance Appraisal System II is administered in a fair and equitable way statewide, the Standards Board will develop criteria -- to be approved by the State Board -- for the training and credentialing of evaluators. The Department of Education will be responsible for ongoing training and monitoring of evaluators.

    • If an educator's overall annual DPAS II evaluation is unsatisfactory, the district is required to develop and assign an improvement plan that identifies deficiencies and professional development opportunities to remedy those deficiencies. A district must also make recommendations for improvement if an educator's performance on an individual component of the evaluation is unsatisfactory. The Professional Standards Board -- with State Board approval -- will define a pattern of ineffective teaching as it relates to performance on the DPAS II.

    • Upon full implementation of DPAS II in school year 2003, a pattern of ineffective teaching may become the basis for dismissal. In addition, teacher applicants to Delaware public schools will be required to disclose their three most recent annual evaluations.

    Sections 27-29
    • The Act implements a new salary schedule for educators -- including teaches, nurses, principals, superintendents, other administrative and supervisory employees. This new schedule includes salary increases for both beginning and experienced educators.

    Section 30
    • Experienced educators will have the opportnity to earn salary enhancements of two to six percent by acquiring specific skills and knowledge or receive salary supplements of $750 to $1,500 for accepting additional academic responsibilities. Educators who achieve certification from the Naitonal Board for Professional Teaching Standards will receive a 12 percent salary increase. The Act also funds five additional professional development days by fiscal year 2003.

    Sections 51 & 52
    • To provide greater incentive to increase student achievment, the Act substantially increases the monetary award for the school-based performance awards for student accountability to $1,500 per employee and makes it clear that salary bonuses are an acceptable usage of these funds.

    Sections 56 & 57
    • This Act amends the Student Accountability Act of 1998 to align the timeline for student accountability with professional accountability and to allow districts greater flexibility in providing appropriate extra learning opportunities prior to retention. Beginning in 2002, students who fall significantly below the standard in reading in Grades 3, 5 and 8 wll be required to attend summer school and must improve their performance to be promoted to the next grade. Math is added to that criteria in Grade 8. Graduates of the Class of 2004 must meet the standard to receive an Academic Diploma.

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