ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RELEASES LIST OF PROPOSED SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT SCHOOLS
(October 16, 2002) – Forty-seven (47) Arkansas public elementary and secondary schools have been identified as potential School Improvement Schools, as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) released the list today. These schools have until November 15, 2002 to review their placement and provide any supporting evidence that might justify their removal. Those remaining will be mandated to offer school choice to another school within the district and/or supplemental services to affected students no later than the beginning of the second semester of the current school year.
With the adoption of the Arkansas Comprehensive Testing, Assessment, and Accountability Program (ACTAAP) in June of 1999, Arkansas began the process of moving to a single educational accountability system based on multiple indicators, including the state’s Benchmark and End of Course Examinations. At that time ACTAAP envisioned that, in order to meet federal mandates, a temporary school improvement model would be established. Based on this transition plan, the ADE reported earlier this year no schools in school improvement since the new model had not been in place for a sufficient time to measure at least two consecutive years of adequate yearly progress on the state’s tests, as required by federal law.
Subsequent discussions with the United States Department of Education revealed that, in order to fully comply with the No Child Left Behind legislation, the ADE could not rely exclusively on the transition model but must continue to identify schools in improvement under the old model until the new ACTAAP provisions are fully implemented. This accounts for today’s announcement.
Explanation for Identification of Schools in School Improvement
1. The school must be classified as a “Title I” school.
2. Student performance was based solely on the previous four years of test data from the basic battery of the Stanford Achievement Test, Version 9 (SAT-9) for grades 5, 7, and 10 for general population students.
3. The 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 academic years were used as the initial baseline.
4. If a school receiving Title I funding had 25% or less of its students proficient (at or above the 50th percentile) on the basic battery of the SAT-9 during one of the baseline years, this school was moved to a “high priority” status.
5. A “high priority” school was required to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or was placed in school improvement. AYP is defined as an increase in the percentage of students scoring proficient AND a decrease in the percentage of students scoring below the 25th percentile on the SAT-9. If a school failed to make AYP in two consecutive years, it was placed in year 1 of school improvement. Failure to make AYP a third year moved the school to year 2 of school improvement.
Under No Child Left Behind, schools in year 1 of school improvement must offer children the choice of attending another school not in school improvement within the district. Schools in year 2 of school improvement must offer school choice and supplemental services.
The ADE will host a conference in the near future to assist these schools in complying with the federal provisions and to discuss with them the procedures for removal from school improvement.