Vermont Department of Education amends list of “Lowest Achieving” schools

first_imgOn March 10, 2010, the Vermont Department of Education released the list of Vermont s ten persistently low-achieving schools as required by the US Department of Education (USED). Due to a calculation error at the Vermont department, that list was incorrect. Two schools that were classified have been removed, and two schools that were not on the March 10 list have now been added.A federal regulation from USED requires states to rank all schools identified for not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) who received Title I funds in 2008 and all secondary schools eligible for but not receiving Title I funds in 2008. Once ranked, the lowest-achieving five schools in each category are eligible to receive federal funding as part of the Statewide Fiscal Stabilization Fund allocations under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).The two schools removed from this classification were Otter Valley Union High School and Bridport Elementary School. The two schools now eligible for increased federal aid are St. Johnsbury School and Lamoille Union High School.Commissioner Armando Vilaseca released the following statement: I sincerely apologize for this mistake. In making these complicated calculations to identify these schools, one element of a calculation was not included and therefore we mistakenly identified two schools. This was human error, nothing more. This error has caused both individuals and communities much concern and angst, and I take full responsibility for that. My department staff is incredibly hard working, dedicated to getting things right, and strained to meet the enormity of federal requirements like this one that are being placed on our already reduced team. The important thing is that we do everything we can to get this federal aid to the schools that need it the most. This is an incredible opportunity to support these schools in making big changes to help all their students succeed.The USED has allocated $8 million in additional school improvement funding for Vermont. Vermont s Department of Education identified these high-need schools using the 2008 New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) scores for all students, and scores for those schools over the period that NECAP tests have been administered. An additional criterion for high schools was to identify any high school with graduation rates below 60 percent for two years or more. Vermont has no high schools (as of January 2010) in this category.The funds do come with conditions. For Vermont s 10 highest-need schools to receive funds, they must be willing to embrace one of four strictly defined models for school improvement as laid out by the USED. The four models include closing the school, closing the school and reopening the school under a Charter or Education Management entity, replacing the principal and 50 percent of the teachers, or implementing a comprehensive transformation model which would also necessitate replacing the principal (if they have been there longer than two years) while implementing systemic reform efforts in the coming years. Explanation of Process Used to Identify Tier I, II & III Schools in VermontIn response to receiving $77 million in education stimulus aid for schools as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Vermont was required to rank all Title I schools that have been identified by our school accountability system of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and all schools that include the 9-12 grade span that are eligible but not receiving Title I funds on four indicators:1. Proficiency of all students on 2008 NECAP (state assessment) in mathematics2. Proficiency of all students on 2008 NECAP in reading3. Progress of all students on NECAP reading over at least two years4. Progress of all students on NECAP mathematics over at least two yearsThe department was required to calculate the sum of the four rankings for each school, and based on this combined ranking score was required to identify schools as falling into one of the following categories:1. Tier I – the five highest need (lowest achieving based on the combined ranking score) Title I schools who are identified by Vermont s school accountability system (AYP)2. Tier II the five highest need (lowest achieving based on the combined ranking score) secondary schools (defined as schools inclusive of 9-12 span) who are eligible for but not receiving Title I3. Tier III schools in need of improvement (the rest of the Title I receiving schools identified by the AYP system)All 68 schools identified as Tier I, II or III are eligible for additional school improvement funds and support from the department as part of the FY 2010/11 State School Improvement Grant Application once it is approved later this spring. First priority for funding and support will be given to participating Tier I & II schools.The complete list of ranked schools follows.Source: Vermont Department of Education. 3.16.2010last_img

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