10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

By DAYNA STRAEHLEY and DARRELL R. SANTSCHI
The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino schools have been operating under the federal government’s new transformation model for six years, even though they haven’t called it that, Superintendent Art Delgado said.

Federal and state laws require districts to choose one of four painful options by June 1 to fix 11 schools listed as persistently lowest-achieving: closing the school, converting it to a charter school, replacing the principal and at least half the staff, or replacing the principal and increasing instructional time, which the law calls the “transformation model.”

The San Bernardino City Unified School District board decided last week to turn six — Davidson, Rio Vista, Wilson and Hunt elementaries, Shandin Hills Middle and Pacific High — into charter schools.

The district will pursue that transformation model for the other five — Barton and Marshall elementaries, Serrano Middle and Arroyo Valley and San Gorgonio high schools.

The schools that will turn into charter schools must serve any former student who wishes to attend. They can adopt themes or become special academies. Management structure changes. The district or another organization can become the charter operator.

Under the transformation model, evaluations of teachers and the principal are tied to student performance.

Eleven of the San Bernardino City Unified’s 69 schools are on a list of the state’s 5 percent persistently lowest achieving. All but one, Pacific High School, have been raising students’ test scores, Delgado said.

“We started to address these schools well before this list came out” in March, Delgado said at a recent meeting of community leaders at the district’s offices.

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