Below is a letter from Wilmington’s Assistant Superintendent of Schools Brian Reagan:
Dear Wilmington Community,
The Massachusetts Legislature recently passed what is commonly known as the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) (Chapter 132 of the Acts of 2019). The SOA requires each district to develop a 3-year plan that focuses on efforts to close disparities in achievement among student subgroups. While the SOA provides additional state funds to school districts across the Commonwealth, it is important to note that the majority of these additional funds will be awarded to approximately 35 districts with large populations of students classified as economically disadvantaged and/or as English Language Learners. A summary of anticipated funds from the state shows that Wilmington will receive an increase of $96,600 for FY21. This increase is in line with the typical increases in state funding Wilmington has received during the previous 2 fiscal years. While the passage of the SOA does not equate to a larger than normal increase in state aid for Wilmington, we are required to develop an SOA plan.
In guidance issued to school districts in February 2020, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) indicated the following:
- SOA Plans were due on April 1, 2020 (the deadline has subsequently been postponed due to the COVID-19 health crisis. A new deadline has not yet been established)
- Activities/initiatives within the SOA plan must be evidence-based
- The SOA plan is not a comprehensive strategic plan. It should commit to doing a “few things well.”
- The SOA application requires districts to address four “commitments.”
- The district must engage with the community when developing the SOA plan
The DESE identified 17 examples of high-quality programs to help districts focus their SOA efforts. We determined that nine of these programs align with our existing District Strategic Plan and ultimately decided to build our plan around inclusion/co-teaching for students with disabilities.
The draft SOA has been reviewed by the district leadership team and the Wilmington School Committee. We are now seeking input from the community and staff. After reviewing the plan, please click here to access a feedback form. You may also consider participating in a special public comment session which will be added to the agenda of the April 29 Wilmington School Committee meeting. The SOA Plan will be submitted to the DESE once a new deadline is established. Thank you for reviewing our SOA Plan and for providing feedback.
Read the Draft Plan HERE.
Brian K. Reagan, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Staff Development
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