Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
August 10, 2010
For Immediate Release
Closer look needed in reviewing schools,
districts on improvement
Number on improvement increases; progress seen in challenged schools
TOPEKA – Twenty-four Title I school districts and 37 Title I schools in Kansas were identified as “on improvement” for the 2010-2011 school year during the Kansas State Board of Education meeting in Topeka today. While those numbers are up from last year, they represent just 8 percent of all school districts in the state, and just 5 percent of the 732 Title I schools in Kansas.
“What is really telling about these numbers is the good news that is found in the data, particularly when you consider that the targets for student performance on reading and math assessments continue to go up rather dramatically each year – this year the targets increased anywhere from 5 to 8 percent over the previous year,” said Interim Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker.
While the total number of Title I schools on improvement increased by five from the previous year, six of the schools that were on improvement last year came off of improvement this year. In addition, more than half of the Title I schools that were on improvement last year made adequate yearly progress (AYP) this year in the area that was identified for improvement. Schools that meet AYP in the identified area of improvement for two consecutive years are no longer considered on improvement.
Among the Title I school districts identified for improvement this year, 12 are in only their first or second year of improvement. Of the four districts in their second year of improvement, three met AYP in the identified area of improvement this year.
“I’m encouraged by the progress we have seen among our most challenged schools,” DeBacker said. “It means the assistance we provide to schools on improvement is being effective in helping them achieve these very high expectations for progress and performance. That’s important because it is going to become more and more difficult for schools to continue to meet the increasing expectations for student performance each year.”
Schools identified as on improvement are provided with additional funding to implement improvement plans, as well as an implementation coach who is onsite regularly to help develop and implement those plans. Districts on improvement receive a needs assessment as well as technical assistance in meeting the needs identified in the assessment. A district facilitator is provided to coordinate the assistance.
Only Title I schools can be placed on improvement. Title I schools are those that receive federal Title I funds, typically schools with high percentages of students receiving free and reduced price lunches. Schools and districts are placed on improvement when they do not make AYP for two consecutive years. AYP designations require that schools and districts meet specified targets for student performance and participation on reading and math assessments, as well as in the areas of attendance and graduation. Performance targets must be met for the full student population in specified grades, as well as for sub-groups based on race/ethnicity, income level, special needs and English proficiency within those grades. Once a school or district is placed on improvement, it cannot come off of improvement until it has made AYP for two consecutive years in the identified area of improvement.
Each year a school is on improvement a different level of sanction is applied. In the first year of improvement, students in the school must be offered the choice to transfer to another school in the district that is not on improvement. In the second year of improvement, the school must provide supplementary educational services (SES) to low-income students. In the third year on improvement, the school must take corrective action to improve the school, such as replacing staff, implementing new curriculum, etc. In the fourth year of improvement the school must prepare a plan to restructure the school to address the areas in need of improvement, and in the fifth year of improvement the school must implement restructuring. The sanctions are cumulative and accrue from year to year unless the school makes AYP in the identified area of improvement for a given year. When that happens, the school is placed on delayed status, meaning it will not advance to the next level of sanctions unless it does not meet AYP requirements in the next year.
Click here for the list of districts and schools on improvement for 2010-2011 .