§ 16-7.1-2. Accountability for student performance.
(a) 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 and performance standards and performance benchmarks for reading in two (2) grades shall be added.
(b) Districts and schools need to be held accountable for student performance results. Therefore, every school district receiving state education aid under this title shall develop a district strategic plan. The district strategic plan shall: (1) Be based on high academic standards for student performance consistent with the statewide standards and benchmarks; (2) Be the product of a shared communitywide process that defines a vision of what students should know and be able to do; (3) Address the needs of each school in the district; (4) Encourage the development of school-based improvement planning and implementation; (5) Include a process for mentoring of new teachers; (6) 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; (7) 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 (8) Be consistent with Rhode Island's comprehensive education strategy. In order to ensure 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.
(c)(1) The strategic plan shall include strategies to improve the performance of students in mathematics, reading, and writing. Each plan must describe a scientific research-based, as described in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title 1, Part B, § 1208 [20 U.S.C. § 6368], reading instruction to improve the reading skills of all students in the early grades (kindergarten through grade five (5)) that is aligned with the board of regents reading policy. The district must develop, implement, and evaluate a personal literacy program for each student in these grades who is performing below grade level. 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 elementary and secondary 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. The increase shall be established annually in accordance with § 16-7.1-4.
(2) The general assembly recognizes the contribution of school counselors to positive educational change; to the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; and to the success of students in three (3) developmental domains: academic, career, and personal/social. It endorses the National Standards for School Counseling Programs as developed by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). Further, the general assembly encourages every district to implement a K-12 standards-based, comprehensive, developmental school counseling program. The general assembly further encourages every district to provide professional development opportunities for school counselors that focus on best practices in collaborating with business, industry, and other community organizations to create internships and apprenticeships for secondary students.
(d) 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.
(e) 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.
(f) 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.
(g) All district strategic plans and annual updates shall be submitted to the commissioner of elementary and secondary education no later than May 1 of each year.
(h) All strategic plans shall include strategies to decrease obesity and improve the health and wellness of students and employees through nutrition, physical activity, health education, and physical education. Said strategies shall be submitted by May 1st of each year to the Rhode Island department of elementary and secondary education and the Rhode Island department of health.
(P.L. 1997, ch. 30, art. 31, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 31, art. 31, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 31, art. 23, § 2; P.L. 2000, ch. 267, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 77, art. 22, § 2; P.L. 2002, ch. 65, art. 18, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 184, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 244, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 74, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 76, § 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 438, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 459, § 1.)