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Becomming an Accelerated School School Exploration and Buy-in Process


School communities ordinarily explore the accelerated schools philosophy and process for approximately one to three months before making an informed decision to apply to become part of the Accelerated Schools Project. In order to ensure that potential schools are adequately prepared before applying to the Accelerated Schools Project, we recommend that potential schools complete both phases of the School Exploration and Buy-in Process.

Phase 1: Exploration
(a) The full staff (students, administrators, teachers, para-professionals, support staff, parents, and district personnel) ordinarily explore the accelerated schools philosophy and process for approximately one to three months before making an informed decisions to apply to become part of the Accelerated Schools Project.
Schools may request their district offices to purchase: Accelerated Schools Resource Guide from John Wiley & Sons,Inc.(415-433-1767). The Video Journal of Education-Accelerated Schools (1-800-572-1153).

The Accelerated Schools Center can provide names of regional Accelerated Schools principals or coaches who are experienced with the model and can assist in setting up visits to established Accelerated Schools throughout the United States.
School teams may also set up information meetings/awareness presentations at Teachers College with our Center staff. These teams will be prepared to present the model back at their school site. The Accelerated Schools Project web-site is an excellent source of information and can be visited at The Accelerated Schools Project

(b) After reading about the Accelerated Schools Project and speaking with accelerated schools coaches and principals, a prospective school organizes a series of meetings with all members of the school community to discuss their understanding of the Accelerated Schools philosophy and process, voice concerns and address questions. Ideally, school staff members invite key district office personnel and school board members to join the exploration.

Phase 2: Clarification & Buy-In
(a) Following the initial exploration phase, members of the school communities call and/or visit existing accelerated schools to clarify any questions or concerns participants have about the accelerated school philosophy and process. Talking with teachers, principals, support staff, and parents involved in the process, and seeing the philosophy in action, can help school community members decide whether or not to embrace the accelerated schools model. Interested schools can contact the Accelerated Schools Center (212-678-3211 or by e-mail ps302@columbia.edu) directly for referrals to nearby schools.

(b) The school community may also want to invite someone from an existing accelerated school, the Accelerated Schools Center to visit the school and provide an in-depth presentation and question and answer session to the entire school community. This visit may involve travel costs and consulting fees.

(c) The school community should be in the process of considering individuals, preferably from the district to serve as prospective external coaches.

(d) After thoroughly exploring and researching the Accelerated Schools model, members of the school community formally decide to embrace the accelerated schools philosophy and process by taking a formal vote or coming to consensus. While a unanimous vote/consensus is optimal, a school will not be accepted without at least 80% of full-time staff and school community representatives willing to transform their school into an accelerated school. Once a school has voted, the principal and/or Site Management Team Chair should contact our Center at 212-678-3211.

e) Concurrently, the school community should be in the process of considering individuals to serve as prospective internal coaches from the teaching staff.

Post-Vote Application Checklist for New Partner Schools

After a school has voted and contacted our Center, the following materials need to be submitted:

School Profile
Please provide us with a picture of your school, including demographics, test scores and any other information that is helpful in learning about your school.

Letter of Commitment from the Principal
Please outline the process for having achieved a minimum of 80% buy-in from the whole-school. Also, describe how you will facilitate the internalization of the Accelerated Schools philosophy and process in the school and in the classroom, and how you will support efforts to implement and sustain this transformation

Implementation Plan from the Principal
Outline a plan of how you will provide the time for staff to receive training about the Accelerated Schools concept and process. All school staff and community representatives will need a minimum of six days for training during year one; 2 days before school begins. Schools/districts must also plan for a weekly meeting time that will allow for whole-school engagement and weekly grade-level meetings to allow for planning of powerful learning units. Monthly full day Coaches Meetings at Teachers College, Columbia University are required for all school teams. You might consider using the in-service days scheduled before the beginning of the school year as well as other staff development days built into the calendar. Some schools have banked instructional minutes so that they can have early release days; some have special event days. You can be as creative as you want in finding the time.

Letter of Commitment from the Superintendent
Provide a letter from the superintendent explaining how the district plans to support the school in the transformation process.

Review, sign & return the General Partnership Agreement/Contract.

Coaches Applications
Each coach (internal and external) must submit an application. Applications can be obtained by contacting our center.

Partnership Agreement Services and Costs
The Accelerated Schools Center expects schools to make at least a five-year commitment. The cost for each of the first three years is $45,000* for the Partnership Agreement. After the third year, an affiliation fee of $5,000 per year will be charged and additional services will be assessed as needed. The Accelerated Schools Center and the partner school have the right to evaluate and continue or discontinue the partnership at the end of each year.

The Partnership Agreement services include:
A five day intensive training in summer for the principal,external coach,internal coach(es),& two teachers;
Training materials & Accelerated Schools Resource Guide;
Two workshops of two and a half days each on Powerful Learning;
A two and a half day workshop on the Inquiry Process;
Ongoing technical assistance and mentorship by phone, fax, and electronic mail;
Four site visits by an Accelerated Schools Center staff member;
Monthly training meetings for school teams at Teachers College, Columbia University;
A two day year-end retreat;
A subscription to newsletters and the electronic ASP network.
In addition schools and districts must:

Provide release time for two days of initial school-site training for the entire teaching staff and the equivalent of four additional days of in-service training during the first year;
Select and fund an external coach (minimum of 35% release time);
Select an fund an internal coach (minimum of 35% release time, 100% release time is strongly recommended);
Plan and schedule weekly meeting time, preferably an early release day once a week, for whole school engagement in the restructuring process; Plan and schedule weekly grade-level team meetings to plan powerful learning units;
Make arrangements for release time, substitute teachers (as needed) and travel of school teams to monthly meetings and professional development workshops at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Accelerated schools participating in Title 1 often use these funds to cover the expenses associated with release time and staff development.
Districts may absorb the cost of the coach by providing release time for a district staff member to serve as a coach.

*The $45,000 Partnership Agreement Cost is based on a school of 700 students or less. When a school is larger than 700 students, the amount will be adjusted according to the school needs and number of coaches that need to be trained.
-- For training of each additional coach a fee of $4,000will be charged beyond the Partnership Agreement
-- For any additional participant to the 5-days Training of Trainers session fee of $2,000will be charged beyond the Partnership Agreement.

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Copyright 2002 Accelerated Schools Center - Teachers College,Columbia University
Box 200, 525 West 120th St., New York, NY 10027   212-678-3857