In one of the first tests of the federal government’s restructuring model for failing schools, the Central Falls, R.I., school board on Feb. 23 approved a recommendation to dismiss the entire faculty and staff of the town’s only public high school, reports the New York Times. The board voted 5 to 2 to accept a plan proposed by Schools Superintendent Frances Gallo to fire the approximately 100 faculty and staff members at the chronically underperforming Central Falls High School on the last day of this school year in June. The plan also will create a new school governance structure and requires the high school’s new teachers to take part in professional development that meets federal standards. Gallo said during the meeting that she chose what she called a “turnaround” plan, one of four offered by the state, after the teachers’ union rejected conditions in another state plan that called for increased hours without the promise of salary increases. “Union leadership went too far because I would not commit to monetary incentives,” Gallo said. She said she’d been instructed by the state education commissioner to choose one of the four state reform plans, which were modeled on federal recommendations and included the school’s closing. Central Falls High is one of Rhode Island’s six lowest achieving schools and has a four-year graduation rate of 48 percent…

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staff and wire services reports