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Palm Beach (The School District of Palm Beach County)

District Partner 2015-2016

ERS is partnering with The School District of Palm Beach County to map resource use and to support human capital strategy, strategic school design, help surface areas to reinvest to support their under-performing and growing English Language Learner (ELL) population.

District Facts

Palm Beach has worked hard to be where it is today, with its students generally outperforming the state average in elementary and middle school, and high schoolers surpassing the state’s average graduation rates. Like many urban school districts, however, Palm Beach still faces several challenges in educating its approximately 177,000 students. One challenge the district is focused on is closing their ELL performance gap (a gap that is larger than their peers in Florida) while experiencing an increase in their ELL population. But this is also at a unique moment of opportunity: under the new Superintendent Robert Avossa, Palm Beach is poised to take stock of where they currently are and how they can best move forward on their overall path from good to great.

  • 58% Free & Reduced-Price Lunch
  • 11% English Language Learners
  • 15% Special Education
  • 78% Graduation Rate

Work Focus

2015-2016:

  • School System 20/20 Analysis: Conduct interviews and analyze data from budget, staffing, course schedule, and student demographics using our School System 20/20 framework, to help the district understand exactly how their resources are being used, as well as to highlight how their policies and practices shape that resource use.
  • Resource Mapping: Conduct a detailed analysis of Palm Beach’s resources—people, time, and money—to identify how it could use its resources more strategically and equitably to improve student achievement.
  • Implementation Support: Support Palm Beach for two months at the conclusion of the project, aiming to lay the groundwork needed to implement targeted changes decided upon through our work in the first stage of the project.

Findings and Outcomes

  • Add 60 minutes of learning time to the school day in the 10% lowest performing schools
  • Rethink use/deployment of expert support such as instructional coaches
  • Support schools in creating effective teacher teams led by expert teachers
  • Reduce Special Education placements by 5% by addressing over-identification

 

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