State Superintendent Randy Dorn pledges continued support for under-performing schools

Washington OSPI

State Superintendent Randy Dorn released a list of schools yesterday that will receive additional funding and support services to help them meet the needs of all their students. The designations were developed as part of Washington state’s waiver that provided relief from some requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The U.S. Department of Education notified Washington on April 24 that its waiver will not be extended into the 2014–15 school year. However, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will continue to identify schools for support using the methodology developed under the waiver.

“The way we have been identifying high-needs schools with our waiver is more valid than using Adequate Yearly Progress,” Dorn said, referring to the accountability process to which the state must return under ESEA.

“With the waiver, we were able to use three years of data,” Dorn said. “AYP reflects just one. Although we don’t have the waiver for 2014–15, we will use a blended model that incorporates both of these methodologies.”

The state’s highest-needs schools are now identified as either priority or focus.

Priority school identification criteria, based on the performance of all students, as a group, in the school:

  1. Schools in which fewer than 40 percent of students perform at grade level on state tests in reading and math (combined) for the past three years.
  2. Schools with a five-year graduation rate of less than 60 percent for the past three years.
  3. Lowest-performing schools based on Achievement Index.*
  4. Current priority schools continuing forward as priority schools in 2014–15.
  5. Schools that have scored in the lowest 5 percent on state reading and math tests for the past three years.

* Total of #1, #2 and #3 must be 90 schools (State Board of Education requirement).

Focus school identification criteria, based on the performance of one or more student subgroups in the school (for example, black or Hispanic students, or students receiving special education services):

  1. Schools with a five-year graduation rate of less than 60 percent for the past three years.
  2. Schools that have scored in the lowest 10 percent on state tests in reading and math (combined) for a particular subgroup. These schools have at least one subgroup in which 13.58 percent or fewer of the students have performed at grade level on state tests in reading and math (combined) for the past three years.
  3. Current focus schools continuing forward as focus schools in 2014–15.

All priority and focus schools will receive either federal or state funds to help them with their action plans for improvement. OSPI’s Office of Student and School Success will provide guidance and support services.

Schools were identified using three-year averages (2010–11 through 2012–13) of reading and math scores from the state tests and/or graduation rates. A total of 284 schools were identified as priority or focus out of an estimated 1,800 eligible schools.

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