S.D. schools won’t get paid for high test scores

EdWeek reports that some states plan to hand out straight cash to high-performing schools as they implement new accountability systems with their Obama-approved waivers from No Child Left Behind.

Waiver rules require states to reward schools with exceptionally high or improving test scores, and a handful intend to pass out money, which is way better than gift certificates to the Olive Garden.

For instance, reward schools in New York could get the chance to compete for grants of up to $100,000 to be used to help share promising practices, according to the state’s application. And in Delaware, up to two schools could be eligible for grants as high as $10,000.

Other states were more cautious about tangible rewards. For instance, Kansas wrote that it would provide a school with a gift to signify its reward status, “if funding provides.” And the gifts outlined in the application wouldn’t be extravagant; examples given included plaques and signage. - Rewards for Schools Key Face of NCLB Waivers, Alyson Klein

South Dakota schools will not be getting paid for high test scores.

According to the waiver application, rewards will go to schools that rank among the top 5 percent on the School Performance Index and the 5 percent that make the most year-to-year growth on whichever test takes the place of the Dakota STEP.

Starting in 2015 for elementary and middle schools and 2016 for high schools, those schools will get banners, logos to use in school materials, award ceremonies and maybe even a visit from the governor:

Exemplary schools will receive special recognition through a statewide branding effort designed to draw attention to their outstanding performance and/or growth. The SDDOE would develop a special seal or logo for Exemplary schools to display on school materials (letters, newsletters, websites, etc.) and onsite in their buildings (stickers on door entrances, banners, outdoor signage, etc.) Schools earning Exemplary status also would receive congratulatory letters from the governor and/or the state secretary of education, and the schools would be highlighted on the SDDOE’s website and in its monthly newsletter to school administrators. The SDDOE would arrange for the superintendents of each Exemplary district to be recognized one day during the annual legislative session.

Each year, when Exemplary schools are determined, the department would engage media statewide in the recognition process. Depending on staff time and resources, these efforts might include the following: press conference with governor and/or secretary of education announcing the Exemplary schools, statewide media release, public service announcements tailored to local outlets, and use of social media. The governor and/or secretary may visit several of the schools as time allows. Finally, the SDDOE would pursue a media partner to leverage resources to extend the impact and reach of recognition efforts. - South Dakota’s NCLB waiver application, Jan. 13, 2012