The Center for District and School Accountability (CDSA) in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) conducts district reviews under Chapter 15, Section 55A of the Massachusetts General Laws. Under the law, CDSA periodically reviews districts placed in Level 4 under 603 CMR 2.05(1)1 or previously declared “underperforming” by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) and placed on turnaround plans. The purpose of this review of Level 4 districts was to provide the Department and the Board with information allowing them to assess the extent to which the Gill-Montague Regional School District has strengthened its systems since its placement in Level 4 or the implementation of its turnaround plan, in order to determine future ESE assistance and intervention.
Five overarching key questions guided the work of the review team in this review:
1. How has the district addressed the issues that placed it in Level 4?
2. Is student achievement on the rise?
3. Do the district and schools have strong systems and practices in place?
4. Has the district built the capacity to maintain continuous improvement on its own, without continued assistance from ESE targeted to the district?
5. Does the district have the resources needed to implement a Turnaround Plan effectively?
The 2010-2011 review used former district review reports, the district’s turnaround plan, an analysis of the district’s current systems and practices, and district and student data in order to assess the district’s progress and its capacity to sustain improvements. To focus the analysis, reviews collect evidence for each of the Key Questions and for each of the six district standards: Leadership and Governance, Curriculum and Instruction, Assessment, Human Resources and Professional Development, Student Support, and Financial and Asset Management. Team members previewed selected district documents and ESE data and reports before conducting a four-day site visit to the district and schools. The team consisted of independent consultants with expertise in each of the standards.
The on-site visit was conducted during the week of September 27 – 30, 2010. The site visit included visits to the following district schools: Turners Falls High School (9-12), Great Falls Middle School (6-8), Montague Elementary School (Pre-K-5), and Gill Elementary School (K-6).