If you’re like me, you are not really well-versed in some of the phraseology that is tossed freely around by school administrators and School Committee members. It’s likely no accident that the general public isn’t familiar with terms like “Level 3” and “AYP”, because if it was, the school district would likely have its proverbial feet held to the fire over the meaning.
DY failed to meet the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) threshold last year. As I understand it, this is what (or one of the reasons) that the district is considered a “Level 3” district. The translation is that this district did not meet the minimum basic requirements set by state (or federal) guidelines and, as such, the district must now take certain corrective action in order to show that the administration has adequate plans to address the issues.
I’m in the process of locating information about what that entails and will certainly publish my findings as I obtain them, but I did locate an interesting article about Level 3 schools in Missouri which speaks to just such a standing: UnderstandingYourAYP
The most interesting thing to me that I gleaned from this article is that, at least in Missouri, they are required to do some serious restructuring in administration when they become a Level 3 school district. Likewise, they are required to offer school choice even more evidently than previously. Our district is losing kids to neighboring schools (enrollment numbers have dropped significantly again this year) at what seems to be an alarming rate already. In essence, the article says the following: [emphasis in red added]
Consequences for Title I Schools in School Improvement, Level 3, Corrective Action, Year 1
What is Corrective Action?
If a school in School Improvement does not make AYP for four years, the school goes into School Improvement, Level 3, Corrective Action, Year 1. When a school is in Corrective Action, the district is still required to provide school choice and supplemental educational services. Additionally, the district is required to take corrective measures. Possible corrective actions include implementing a new curriculum, working with outside expert consultants, extending instructional time or making staff changes. If a school does not make AYP after one year in Corrective Action, the school goes into Restructuring.
School Improvement Level 3 – Corrective Action, Year 1 (after AYP is not met for 4 years):
The district must ensure that the identified school implements the following:
1. Evaluate the school improvement plan and add corrective actions;
2. The district must continue to provide or provide for technical assistance to the school;
3. At least 14 days before the beginning of the school year, notify parents of each child enrolled in the school in a language they can understand (see explanation of how to notify parents and sample letters on pages 31-45) and provide:
a. The meaning of the notification;
b. A comparison of the school’s academic achievement with that of other schools in the district and the state;
c. The reasons for the identification and what the school, district and state are doing to help address the problem;
d. Ways parents can become involved in addressing the academic issues that caused the school to be identified for school improvement;
e. An explanation of the parent’s options to transfer their child;
f. Notice of the availability of Supplemental Educational Services (SES) for eligible children, and that information about SES and how to obtain services will be coming within the next two weeks to parents of eligible children;
g. The corrective action to be taken.
4. Offer Public School Choice (PSC) to all students to transfer to another public school or charter school within the district. School choice is required if there are other schools in the district that serve the same grade level AND those schools are not in school improvement, corrective action or restructuring. All students who request a transfer must be transferred; however, if there are inadequate financial resources to transport all children, schools must give priority to lowest-achieving students from low-income families. Districts without PSC options may:
a. Offer Supplemental Educational Services (SES) as an alternative to PSC for schools in SI year 1 if either (a) there are no qualified schools or (b) the parents decline to transfer to the school assigned for their child;
b. Establish a cooperative agreement with other districts in the area for a transfer.
(See the USDE’s Public School Choice Non-Regulatory Guidance accessible online at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/schoolchoiceguid.doc.
5. Make Supplemental Educational Services (SES) available using the letter template provided after the school improvement letter templates, and for more information go to the Supplemental Educational Services link at http://dese.mo.gov/divimprove/fedprog/;
6. Districts are to include on their web sites the following information in a timely manner:
a. The number of students who were eligible for and who participated in PSC beginning with data from the 2007-08 school year and for each subsequent year;
b. A list of available schools to which students eligible for public school choice may transfer for the current school year;
c. The number of students who were eligible for and who participated in SES beginning with data from the 2007-08 school year and for each subsequent year;
d. A list of SES providers approved to serve the district, as well as the locations where services are provided for the current school year.
7. Take one of the following corrective actions:
a. Replace school staff relevant to the failure;
b. Institute and implement a new research-based and professionally-developed curriculum;
c. Significantly decrease management authority at the school level;
d. Appoint an outside expert to advise the school in its progress;
e. Extend the school year or school day for the school;
f. Restructure the internal organizational structure of the school;
g. Provide scientific research based professional development.
8. Schools in Corrective Action are not required, but are encouraged to spend not less than 10% of the building’s Title I funds on professional development.
9. Copies of parent notification letters will have to be submitted to DESE through a web-based mechanism called formHog. Districts will receive an email notice with instructions on how to submit the documentation.
It’s time we all become a bit more familiar with the terms and phrases that describe and define our district. The Superintendent has proposed a budget which requests more money – in part to pay for hiring “coaches” whose job it will be to teach our teachers how to teach!