A N A C T
RELATING TO EDUCATION -- RHODE ISLAND STUDENT INVESTMENT INITIATIVE
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 16-7.1-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 16-7.1 entitled "The Rhode Island Student Investment Initiative" is hereby amended to read as follows:
16-7.1-2. Accountability for student performance -- The board of regents shall adopt and publish statewide standards of performance and performance benchmarks in core subject areas to include writing and mathematics (grades four (4), eight (8) and ten (10)). These standards and performance benchmarks shall be ratified by the board and implemented by December 31, 1997. By December 31, 1998, performance standards and performance benchmarks for reading in two (2) grades shall be added.
Districts and schools need to be held accountable for student performance results. Therefore, every school district receiving state education aid under title 16 of the general laws shall develop a district strategic plan. The district strategic plan shall: be based on high academic standards for student performance consistent with the statewide standards and benchmarks; be the product of a shared community wide process which defines a vision of what students should know and be able to do; address the needs of each school in the district; encourage the development of school-based improvement planning and implementation; include a process for mentoring of new teachers; be designed to improve student achievement with emphasis on closing the performance gaps among groups of students such as the performance gaps correlated with poverty, gender, language background and disability; include establishment of student intervention teams to address the instructional needs of diverse learners, include high standards of student behavior designed to create an orderly educational environment with due regard for the rights of students, and an asset protection plan; and be consistent with Rhode Island's Comprehensive Education Strategy. In order to assure the most efficient use of resources implementing strategic plans, districts and schools are encouraged to work together as consortia and as part of the regional collaboratives.
The strategic plan shall include strategies to improve the performance of students in mathematics, reading and writing. These strategies shall be based on the adequate yearly progress expected for students and schools. Annual performance targets for determining whether schools and districts have made adequate yearly progress will be set by the commissioner of education. The general assembly expects these district strategies to increase the number of fourth grade students performing at or above the proficient standard in mathematics, reading and writing in each district and school. In fiscal 1998-1999 and beyond, the increase shall be established annually in accordance with section 16-7.1-4.
Each strategic plan must indicate the manner in which self-studies will be completed at the school level in accordance with guidelines established by the commissioner. Funds shall be appropriated to the department of elementary and secondary education to assist districts with on-site reviews. Schools to be visited shall be determined by the commissioner.
Each strategic plan must indicate the method in which school administrators and staff shall achieve and maintain an orderly educational environment in accordance with due process and with due regard for the rights of students.
Each strategic plan shall include the development of inter-agency agreements for the coordination of services among state and local agencies responsible for service to children and families. These agreements shall address the identification and provision of services to pre-school children with disabilities and children and youth with behavioral health care needs.
All district strategic plans and annual updates shall be submitted to the commissioner of education no later than November 1, of each year.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.