FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 20, 2007

For More Information, Contact:

Jonathan Burman, Tom Dunn, or Alan Ray at (518) 474-1201

Internet:  http://www.nysed.gov

444 TITLE I ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS STATEWIDE ARE "IN

NEED OF IMPROVEMENT" UNDER NCLB;

53 SCHOOLS ALSO IDENTIFIED UNDER SEPARATE STATE RULES

A total of 444 elementary and middle schools have been identified by the State Education Department as "Schools In Need of Improvement" (SINI) under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).  Of these, 106 schools were newly identified this school year.   All SINI schools receive federal Title I funds and must take a variety of actions under federal law.   

In addition, 22 elementary and middle schools have been removed from the Title I improvement list because they have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years in all areas for which they were identified.   

Under NCLB, schools receiving Title I funds that did not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject and grade-level with one or more groups are designated as Schools In Need of Improvement. 

More schools were identified this year because the annual English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests in grades 3-8 have greatly increased the number of students for whom many schools are now held accountable. This, in turn, increased the number of groups for which schools are responsible for making AYP.

Under New York's federally approved NCLB accountability system, schools are responsible for the performance of every "disaggregated" group in which at least 30 students (enrolled in the school for a full academic year) participate in the grade 3-8 math or English tests. Disaggregated groups include low-income students, students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, and racial/ethnic groups.

Previously, many schools were not held accountable for certain groups of students because those schools did not have 30 or more students within that group taking the fourth or eighth grade exams. However, with students now taking exams in grades three through eight, many schools are now responsible for more groups, because when all  grades from 3-8 within a school are combined, those groups have 30 or more such students. In particular, more schools are now being held accountable for the aggregated schoolwide performance of students with disabilities and English Language Learners, who typically make AYP at lower rates than other NCLB accountability groups.

60 of the newly identified elementary and middle SINI schools and 11 of the newly removed schools were in New York City .   

A total of 53 schools have also been identified as "Schools Requiring Academic Progress" (SRAP).  These schools did not receive Title I funds. Of these, 11 schools - 4 in New York City - are newly identified. These schools are required to develop a plan for improvement in the area(s) for which they are identified. Thirteen schools - 7 in New York City - in SRAP status in 2006-07 made sufficient progress to be placed in good standing.  

The number of elementary and middle schools identified as either SINI or SRAP increased statewide from 414 in 2006-2007 to 497 in 2007-2008. The counts of schools identified for 2007-08 include only those schools operating in 2007-08. Some schools that were in improvement status for the 2006-07 school year closed before the beginning of the 2007-08 year. The following tables summarize the accountability status of all State and New York City elementary and middle schools.


School Status for All State Schools with a Final Accountability Status

2006-07

2007-08

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Good Standing

2,640

86%

2,589

84%

In Improvement Status under Title 1

365

12

444

14

Requiring Academic Progress

49

2

53

2

Total in improvement status

414

14

497

16

Total Schools

3,054

 

3,085

 

School Status for New York City Schools with a Final Accountability Status

2006-07

2007-08

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Good Standing

680

71%

659

68%

In Improvement Status under Title 1

249

26

292

30

Requiring Academic Progress

24

3

26

3

Total in improvement status

273

29

318

33

Total NYC

953

 

976

 

Of the 53 schools identified as SRAP, 6 schools that had been SINIs were moved to the SRAP list because they will not receive Title I funds during the 2007-08 school year.  Of the 444 schools identified as in need of improvement under NCLB, all received Title 1 funds in the 2005-06 school year.

The counts of schools identified today as SINI or SRAP include schools at the elementary and middle school level that have no enrollment in grades 9-12.  Later this school year, the Department will release the list of high schools and districts that have been identified as SINI or SRAP.   Additionally the status of any elementary and middle schools that are subject to special review procedures because insufficient numbers of students participated in the Grade 3-8 testing program to use those results for accountability purposes will be released later.

Despite the increase in the number of identified schools the percentage of students demonstrating proficiency in grade 3-8 English language arts increased from 62% to 63% and the percentage proficient in grade 3-8 mathematics increased from 66% to 73% between 2005-06 and 2006-07.  These results were previously reported this past May and June.

Some of the schools identified today as needing improvement have educational programs that produce good results for many students. However, the identified schools have not made AYP for particular groups of students, most often the students with disabilities.  In other cases, 95 percent of their students may not have participated in State tests as required by NCLB. 

Among other requirements, SINI schools are required to develop school improvement plans and offer public school choice.   Schools In Need of Improvement receive additional funding targeted toward improving achievement.

SINI schools that in subsequent years fail to make AYP on a criterion for which they have been identified are subject to additional requirements.  These schools must continue to implement their improvement plans, provide public school choice and also offer eligible students Supplemental Educational Services (SES).  These services are provided outside of regular school hours by an organization selected by the parent from a list of qualified providers approved by the Department.  Continued failure to make AYP will result in schools being subject to corrective actions or restructuring. In some cases, school districts make a determination to phase out a school and replace it with a new one as a means to meet this restructuring requirement.

Under State legislation enacted earlier this year, the State Education Department will assign School Quality Review Teams to assist each SINI in developing and implementing school improvement plans. Teams may also conduct resource, program and planning audits.  They will examine the quality of curriculum, instructional plans, and teaching in the schools, the learning opportunities and support services available to students, as well as the organization and operation of schools.  The School Quality Review teams shall provide schools with diagnostic recommendations for improvement. Beginning with the 2008-09 school year, the Commissioner may assign joint intervention teams and distinguished educators to certain schools that continue to fail to demonstrate improvement.


Schools Requiring Academic Progress do not fall under the provisions of Title I school accountability. However, they must develop improvement plans in the area for which they are identified and may also be required to take corrective actions or to restructure.  Schools Requiring Academic Progress are not required to offer public school choice or supplemental educational services.

3 of the 444 SINI schools in improvement status under NCLB are charter schools. 

Schools and districts received preliminary notification of their accountability status in August. Public announcement of results was delayed this year as the Department completed transition to a new individualized student data collection system and districts were given an opportunity to review and verify their schools' designations.  The State Education Department anticipates accountability decisions based on 2007-08 school year results will be made public prior to the start of the 2008-09 school year.

Given the planning involved in meeting SINI and SRAP requirements, the Department strives to provide districts with the information they need to determine the accountability status of their schools at the earliest possible date. The school report cards issued last spring informed school districts and the public which schools would be required to provide choice and Supplemental Educational Services  in the 2007-2008 school year and pointed to those that might have to provide choice and SES pending 2006-2007 school year results. To facilitate the provision of SES, the Department has approved over 320 SES providers with multiple sites across the state.

Information on New York's accountability system is available at:

www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/Accountability/.

The consequences for schools are spelled out at:

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/school-accountability/about.shtml