Office of Accountability

Memo to the Field from Ira Schwartz, Interim Director for School Improvement & Community Services-NYC

School Improvement & Community Services-NYC
55 Hanson Place, Room 400
Brooklyn, New York  11217

To: District Superintendents
Superintendents of Public Schools
Charter Schools Administrators
Title I Coordinators
From: Ira Schwartz
Date: February 5, 2010
Subject: Title I, Part A - School Improvement Grant Waivers Under Section 1003(g)

Section 1003(g) of Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 provides Federal funding through State Educational Agencies (SEAs) to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) with identified lowest-achieving schools that have the greatest need for the funds and demonstrate the strongest commitment to use the funds to raise significantly the achievement of their students.  The NYSED will be applying for these funds on behalf of the LEAs of New York State.

In order to give SEAs and LEAs additional flexibility to use 1003(g) funds, the United State Department of Education (USED) is providing states the opportunity to file waivers pertaining to the period of availability of school improvement funds, the accountability status of schools that implement a turnaround or restart model, and the ability of schools to implement a schoolwide program in schools that otherwise do not meet the poverty threshold for such programs.

The NYSED believes that securing these waivers will enable maximum use of these funds, increase the quality of instruction for students, and improve the academic achievement of students in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools. Additionally, the waivers will enable targeted LEAs sufficient time to review and select one of the prescribed intervention models that are specifically designed to raise substantially the achievement of students in the State’s Tier I and Tier II schools.    A Tier I school is a Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that is identified by the SEA as “persistently lowest-achieving.”  A Tier II school is a secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I, Part A funds and is identified by the SEA as “persistently lowest-achieving.” A Tier III school is a Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that is not a Tier I school.

Presented below is an overview of each of the waivers for which NYSED plans to apply, taken directly from the SIG Application, which can be found on the USED website at  The NYSED plan is to submit to the USED a blanket waiver request on behalf of all eligible New York State LEAs. The available waivers are as follow:

  • Waive section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)) to extend the period of availability of school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2013.
  • Waive section 1116(b)(12) of the ESEA to permit LEAs to allow their Tier I and Tier II Title I participating schools that will implement a turnaround or restart model to “start over” in the school improvement timeline.
  • Waive the 40 percent poverty eligibility threshold in section 1114(a)(1) of the ESEA to permit LEAs to implement a schoolwide program in a Tier I or Tier II Title I participating school that does not meet the poverty threshold.

In order to be eligible for these waivers, New York State is required to assure USED that:

  • Any LEA that chooses to implement one or more of these waivers will comply with section II.A.8 of the final requirements pertaining to the LEA’s responsibility to establish annual goals for student achievement on the State’s assessments in both reading/language arts and mathematics and measure progress on the leading indicators as defined in the grant.
  • An LEA will be permitted to implement the waivers only if the LEA receives a School Improvement Grant and requests to implement the waivers in its application.  As such, the LEA may only implement the waivers in Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III schools, as applicable, included in its application.
  • If the State is granted one or more of the waivers requested above, it will submit to the U.S. Department of Education a report that sets forth the name and NCES District Identification Number for each LEA implementing a waiver, including which specific waivers each LEA is implementing.

As required by Section 9401 of the ESEA, the purpose of this memo is to provide all eligible and targeted LEAs with notice of and opportunity to comment on the proposed waivers to be requested. Comments may be submitted via email, fax, or mail (postmarked) no later than February 19, 2010. Email submissions should be addressed to the following email: SIGWAIVER@MAIL.NYSED.GOV.  All other submissions, as well as any questions, should be addressed to the attention of:

Roberto Reyes, Director
State Title I School and Community Services
Room 365 EBA
New York State Education Department
Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234
Fax: (518) 486-1762

Thank you for your consideration.

c:       David Steiner
          John King
          Jean Stevens
          Ken Slentz   
          Roberto Reyes
          Sandra Norfleet
          Sharon Holder

Last Updated: March 20, 2014