Local Assistance Plan (LAP) Questions and Answers
1. What is a Local Assistance Plan (LAP)?
A LAP is a district plan that:
- Identifies all schools within a district that are not meeting State standards on either the ELA or mathematics State assessments; and
- Describes how the district will support school improvement in each of those schools.
Although the district writes the LAP, joint planning between the district and the school(s) makes for a better plan than one imposed on a building, so each school has a component of the plan it must complete.
2. Who must complete a Local Assistance Plan?
All districts with any school buildings that score below the current year’s Performance Index (benchmark) on any ELA or mathematics assessment.
3. If the district must write another school improvement plan (SINI, SURR, etc.) for some of their schools, do they still write a separate LAP?
If a school is identified as a SINI (School in Need of Improvement), Corrective Action, SURR (School Under Registration Review) or other designation that requires that school to complete a more stringent plan, that plan is used in place of the LAP. Some districts may have to write a special school improvement plan for some schools (such as a SINI) and LAP plans for other schools in their district.
4. How does a district know if it is required to complete a LAP?
Check to determine which school(s) did not meet the Commissioner’s standards (benchmarks) for ELA and/or mathematics.
5. What if the school did not meet the standards, but met its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)?
All schools not actually meeting Commissioner’s Performance standards must be included in the LAP, whether they met AYP or not.
6. What if the school met the State standard in one subject, but not in the other?
Schools are identified separately for each level and for both mathematics and ELA. Therefore, a LAP must be written for all levels and subjects that are below State standards.
7. Must students with disabilities be included in deciding if a school has met State standards?
Yes, the SASS system includes students with disabilities in calculating whether a school has met State standards.
8. Are English Language Learners (ELL) included in calculating whether a school has met State standards?
Yes, ELL students are included in calculating whether a school has met State standards.
9. What about other disaggregated populations, such as ethnic/ minority groups, gender, and socio-economic status?
The LAP is based only on the total scores of all students.
10. Does the district write a separate LAP for each school in their district that did not meet State standards?
No, the district writes a single plan that includes sections for each school in the district that scored below State standards in either ELA or mathematics assessments. Each school’s needs must be considered separately, but the district should also look at causes that extend beyond one school, such as problems that affect feeder school patterns or articulation problems between schools at different grade levels.
11. When should the district complete the LAP?
The regulation (100.2 3,m) states that the LAP must be written and approved by October 15 of the year after the school is below State standards.
12. Who should be included in the writing of the plan?
The regulation requires that the district follow the 100.11 shared decision making procedure in developing the LAP. This means that parents, community members, teachers and administrators must all be included in the analysis and writing of the LAP.
13. What is the school’s role in writing the LAP?
The school should work with the district to identify, as precisely as possible, the cause(s) of their students’ difficulties and to suggest comprehensive strategies that will ensure that all students meet State standards in the future. The careful analysis of data and research into the best strategies for solving that school’s special needs are the critical aspects of creating a plan that actually works.
14. Once the LAP is written, who must approve it?
The LAP must be approved by the local Board of Education once it is complete.
15. Does the district have to send the LAP to the State Education Department?
No, the LAP is a working document for the district and should remain on file at the district office.
16. Who has legal access to the LAP?
If the State Education Department asks to review the LAP, a copy must be provided. Similarly, the district must make the contents of the LAP public, and if a member of the public asks for a copy, it must be provided under FOIL regulations.
17. If the district has a Comprehensive District Education Plan (CDEP), does it have to complete a separate LAP?
No. A CDEP should encompass all local plans that focus on students’ academic success. If a district has schools that are performing below State standards, one priority of its CDEP should focus on solving that problem. A well-written CDEP enables a district to identify important links among various pieces of their school improvement efforts, so that all the "pieces" of the plans work together. For example, professional development is a critical part of a LAP. If the PDP and LAP are written separately, that relationship is not always evident. If both are included in a CDEP, then the larger issue of professional development is reviewed in relation to the evidence that students have not met State standards. Professional development can then be adjusted to ensure that it is focused on strategies that will enable teachers to meet those students’ needs.
18. What information must be included in the LAP?
The LAP must describe:
- the name of each school identified as being below any benchmark;
- the subject and grade in which the school is below any benchmark;
- the resources to be provided to that school to raise student achievement;
- the professional development activities to be conducted at that school to help raise student achievement;
- the timeline for the provision of such resources and professional development activities;
- a written assurance that:
- it was developed in accordance with the shared decision-making requirements of Section 100.11; and
- it will be made widely available through public means such as posting on the Internet, distribution through the media, and distribution through public agencies.
19. What other information may be included in the LAP?
Although not mandated, a brief description of the process used to identify needs and the best solutions should be included. Showing how the district determined the most critical problem(s) and, from there, what solutions make the most sense, helps ensure that you have actually developed a plan that will make a difference. Consider including:
- A careful analysis of each school’s academic data, including
- the performance of disaggregated populations, and
- an analysis of students’ strengths and weaknesses as measured against the State’s core curriculum.
- An analysis of school and classroom structures and systems that limit student success. For example, is low student achievement exacerbated by limited time on task, by limited time for professional development, lack of common time for teacher planning, or other organizational problems?
- Current professional development initiatives and future needs of teachers, based on analysis of students’ performance.
- An analysis of the school’s programs, schedules, work with families, and other issues that relate to school improvement.
- Results of scientifically based research on solutions to these problems.
- An overall plan, both short-term and long-term, for ensuring that all students meet State standards (a long-term plan might include a wish list that is currently not fundable, but it may help a district search for future grants).
20. What else is expected of districts that must complete LAPs?
Districts must also include a summary of their LAP in their annual public school performance report. That report must also evaluate how well the previous school year’s LAP worked, including whether it enabled the schools to meet their adequate yearly progress and/or State standards. The LAP must be made public by the Board of Education annually at the time it is approved.