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Kirwan Blueprint Implementation Plan 

City Schools has presented an implementation plan for the Kirwan Blueprint. The plan is laid out as a series of responses to questions posed by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

The plan only addresses planning and implementation work that began in 2021-22 and ends in 2023-24. A second plan will be submitted in March 2024 and will cover subsequent years.

The plan is laid out as 164 questions covering the five pillars of work outlined in the Kirwan Blueprint. You can learn more about the development timeline, authors, and process in the presentation made to the Board's Operations Committee on February 21.

Below you will find:

  • The implementation plan that was submitted to the MSDE.
  • An overview of the presentation that was made to the Board's Operations Committee on February 21.
  • A feedback form to share your feedback. Implementation of the Kirwan Blueprint is a complex, multi-year process.  While the first implementation plan has been submitted, we are still very interested in additional feedback from all stakeholders.
  • A very brief, high-level summary of points made under each pillar in the plan.

View the presentation made to the Board Operations Committee

Presentation to Board Operations Committee

Presented on February 21, 2023

Pillar 1
Early Childhood Education

The draft plan includes responses that include these efforts:

Expansion of publicly funded full-day pre-kindergarten

  • City Schools already has a robust public pre-k program that serves approximately 4,000 students. Most of our pre-k students are from low-income families, but we also already serve other families as space allows. We expect small increases in the number of 3 and 4-year-olds we will serve from 2023 to 2034.
  • The Kirwan Blueprint has a requirement that private providers offer 30% of pre-k seats. Because we have a robust program and there are a limited number of private providers in the City, we are requesting a waiver for this requirement. Any private providers who do offer seats for pre-k students must meet high standards for programming and staff. City Schools will also offer these providers support to make sure they meet the high-quality program expectations.
  • We are exploring a partnership with a community college to develop a cohort-based pathway for current pre-k paraeducators to meet new certification requirements with minimal expense for participants. 

It's important to note that costs for pre-k programs will continue to exceed funding provided for pre-k programs, at least in the initial years of implementation of the Kirwan Blueprint. 

Central enrollment system

  • The system is currently under development and will first centralize enrollment for City Schools programs.
  • The next phase will include centralized enrollment for private providers as a subsequent step.

Expand family supports

  • Two new Judy Centers are currently in their first year of implementation bringing the City Schools total to 14, serving over 3,000 families with children from birth to age five.
  • We expect to expand Judy Centers in 2024-25, given the considerable resources needed to apply for, establish, and maintain a successful Judy Center.
  • City Schools will continue to prioritize community need in expansion planning, with careful consideration of factors including geographic location, demographics of the communities served, school facilities, and other school supports.  
Pillar 2
High quality, diverse teachers and leaders

The draft plan includes responses that include these efforts:

Recruitment and retention of a high-quality and diverse workforce

  • Recruitment pipelines and hiring data are being analyzed to identify and remedy obstacles and expand effective practices, especially in the hiring of teachers of color.
  • Schools receiving increases in Kirwan funding will create new positions. As a result, we expect we will need to recruit and hire over 1,000 teachers for the 2023-24 school year at a time when teacher hiring is especially challenging. Neighboring districts are experiencing the same funding increases at as well, making finding and hiring qualified teachers more challenging.

Increase rigor of teacher preparation programs and licensure requirements

  • This includes new mandates for the state to put into place for teacher candidates and preparation programs.
  • City Schools is building on existing higher ed partnerships to create pipelines in subjects that are particularly hard to hire for. Examples: UMBC Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program; Uteach at Towson; Dual elementary/secondary concentration program Notre Dame of MD
  • City Schools has existing “grow your own” programs as well as new programs under development. These include CTE programs for high school students, a new pathway for paraprofessionals or other staff whose college experience was interrupted (in partnership with Morgan State), and partnerships with alternate route providers who help career changers or others with a college degree obtain certification.  

Establish a program to support and encourage teachers to earn National Board Certification (NBC)

  • A new position to coordinate and provide candidate support to those seeking NBC was created.
  • We increased outreach to potential candidates, with a special emphasis on teachers often underrepresented among NBCTs.
  • Programming includes myriad and extensive supports including a cadre of Professional Learning Facilitators, candidate support sessions, and individual office hours.

Improve educator compensation

  • City Schools is on track to meet the 10% salary increase for all teachers by 2023-24 and the new minimum salary requirements by 2026-27
  • This includes salary increases for teachers with National Board Certification $10,000 with an additional $7,000 for NBCTs in low-performing schools already in place, a cumulative 10% salary increase between July 2019 and the end of school year 2023-24 and a $60,000 minimum teacher starting salary by school year 2026-27
  • The impact and cost of these requirements have ripple/multiplier effects that are not specifically included in Blueprint funding and that must be considered, such as competitiveness.
Pillar 3
College and Career Readiness

The draft plan includes responses that include these efforts:

Meeting college and career ready standards

  • A program of study designed to enable students to demonstrate college and career readiness by the end of 10th grade
  • Individualized plans and supports for students in 11th and 12th grade who have not yet met the CCR standard 
  • Tracking systems to measure student progress toward CCR and on-time graduation and to identify students in need of additional supports
  • College and career pathways for all students meeting the CCR standard that offer early college credits through dual enrollment or Advanced Placement courses, career and technical education credentials

Detailed descriptions of K-5 strategies in ELA and math

  • Identification of training needs and provision of professional development
  • Selection of high-quality instructional materials
  • Use of aligned assessments for screening and progress monitoring
  • Interventions for students in need of additional supports
  • Family engagement

Middle and high school grades will be addressed in the March 2024 submission.

Support pathway for students who are not college or career ready by the end of 10th grade

  • Supports include:
    • in-person tutoring during the school day
    • personalized learning to accelerate reading
    • college and career literacy course
    • expanded academic options (extended day, evening, and Saturday) to remediate gaps in learning across content areas
  • High school schedules will be modified so that students have more time in the school day to access courses and pathways to meet the CCR standard.
  • We are working with our college partners to develop a program of study for students who have not met CCR standard by end of 10th grade.

Post CCR pathways

  • We will be expanding the college and career exploration activities and career counseling programming available to middle and high school students, in partnership with the local workforce development board/Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.
  • College preparatory programs or AP course opportunities exist in all traditional high schools, with plans to expand offerings in all schools. For 2023-24, we will offer 30 discrete courses across the district.
  • Through dual-enrollment programs, students have access to all courses at Baltimore City Community College and approximately 20 courses at the University of Baltimore at no cost to the student or their family.
  • City Schools has three PTECH programs in which students can earn Associate’s degrees in 4, 5, or 6 years while they pursue their high school diplomas (PTECH Carver- Cyber Security and Assurance or Computer Information Systems; PTECH Dunbar-General Science, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Health Information Technology, and Respiratory Care: PTECH New Era-Transportation and Supply Chain Management). Bard High School Early College students earn both a high school diploma and up to 60 transferable college credits and an associate in arts degree in four years. 
  • City Schools offers CTE programming across all 11 career clusters including the three PTECH sites. We offer 127 individual CTE programs across 44 pathways and in 22 schools. We are also piloting programs that allow students outside of the CTE pathway to earn an industry-recognized certification and/or participate in apprenticeship programs.  These new programs will assist the district in meeting the 45% apprenticeship and/or industry-recognized certification goal in the Kirwan legislation. 
Pillar 4
More resources for students who need them

The draft plan includes responses that include these efforts:

Additional support and funding for English learners 

  • City Schools has multiple mechanisms in place to supports language access for EL families and uses a culturally-responsive approach to EL family engagement which includes grassroots outreach in partnership with community partners, multilingual parent liaisons, and family learning activities
  • Our Multilingual Learner and Community Strategic Plan was created in response to the tremendous growth in our EL population and identifies the key metrics and strategies to ensure Els attain multilingual literacy, meet or exceed rigorous academic standards, and are prepared for college and career success.

Additional support and funding for students with disabilities

  • City Schools is committed to providing students with disabilities all services they are mandated to receive. Although the Kirwan Blueprint provides targeted funding, meeting the needs of students receiving special education services will require more than allotted special education funding for many years. 
  • City Schools is implementing its plan to mitigate the over-identification of students with disabilities in designated areas and will also monitor the proportionality of suspensions among students with disabilities.

Expansion of behavioral health services and school behavioral health supports

  • Every school has a Student Wellness Support Team, comprised of social workers, psychologists, school nurses, school counselors, student wholeness specialists, and expanded school behavioral health clinicians. 
  • City Schools also receive external support through expanded school behavioral health partners who provide individual and family counseling, teacher and classroom consultation, classroom lessons, psychiatric evaluation, referrals to hospital or community-based intensive services, support for crisis response, evidence-based assessment data collection, family outreach activities, support to address adverse childhood experiences, and in-service presentations to staff on behavioral health topics.

Expansion of community school programs for schools with a high concentration of students living in poverty

  • City Schools currently has 117 schools receiving Concentration of Poverty Personnel and Per Pupil Grants to operate Community Schools. Nearly all have a full-time Community Schools Coordinator; a few are in the process of hiring to fill recent vacancies. City Schools uses a health suite staffing model to ensure all of these schools have access to a health care practitioner. 
  • These schools have partnerships with over 950 organizations providing a wide range of wraparound supports and services. 
Pillar 5
Governance and Accountability

The draft plan includes responses that include these efforts:

Blueprint implementation planning

  • A cross-departmental Kirwan Leadership Team began meeting in 2021-22 school year.  Workgroups by pillar also started meeting regularly. 
  • Tracking processes and structures have been put in place to ensure implementation timelines and milestones are met. 

Monitor availability and use of Blueprint funding

City Schools has worked with Education Resource Strategies (ERS) to modify our Fair Student Funding model (FSF) that has existed for over a decade to fully “Kirwanize” our FSF and ensure its alignment with all Blueprint requirements. This has included:

  • extensive modeling of school-by-school allocations to ensure each school will receive the required minimum amounts for each funding stream; 
  • analysis of centrally-budgeted costs that in fact occur at/in service of school sites for potential reassignment to school allocations; 
  • consideration for schools experiencing significant drops in funding due to Blueprint requirements and/or enrollment declines; 
  • strategies for addressing overages in special education and pre-kindergarten costs that will persist at least in the years before the Blueprint reaches full funding for those streams.