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News

For Immediate Release December 9, 2010

For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201
Internet:  http://www.nysed.gov

Education Commissioner Announces 67 Schools Identified as “Persistently Lowest Achieving" With 58 of them Also Placed Under Registration Review; Schools to be the Focus of School Improvement Efforts

State Education Commissioner David Steiner today announced that he has identified 67 schools as Persistently Lowest Achieving (PLA) as part of New York’s school reform agenda. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) simultaneously identified 58 of these schools for registration review.  These schools are required under state law to implement a major intervention to turn them around and are also eligible to receive significant funding to assist in the implementation of that intervention. The Department also announced that six schools have been removed from registration review because they have achieved the performance targets that had been previously set for them.

To be eligible for federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding, New York is required to identify as persistently lowest-achieving the bottom five percent of Title I schools in Improvement, Corrective Action or Restructuring status that have the lowest combined performance on state’s English language arts (ELA) and mathematics tests and that have failed to demonstrate progress on these assessments.  New York must also identify on these same measures its lowest performing five middle and high schools that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds.  New York’s approved SIG application requires New York to identify those schools that have had graduation rates below 60 percent for each of the past three years.  A school that is identified as persistently lowest-achieving and is placed under registration review must implement one of four United States Department of Education (USDE) intervention models: turnaround, restart, closure, or transformation (please see Attachment A for a full description of the models).

State Education Commissioner David M. Steiner said, “I expect districts to collaborate with the key stakeholders in these schools to develop aggressive, innovative, intervention plans that will be implemented  fully and effectively so that profound improvement in the outcomes for their students will be realized."

In April 2010, New York was awarded a $308 million Title I School Improvement Grant from USDE that the State Education Department can use to award grants to districts that implement one of the four federal intervention models in their PLA schools. Districts with identified schools can apply to NYSED for School Improvement Grants for up to $2 million per year, per school, for up to three years to support model implementation.

To be eligible to receive a Federal School Improvement Grant, districts with identified schools are required to do one of the following:

  • Redesign or replace the school (Turnaround Model),
  • Convert the school to a charter school or contract with an Educational Partnership Organization to operate the school (Restart Model),
  • Transform the school (Transformation Model), or
  • Close the school and transfer students to higher performing schools in the district.

"The Department’s actions today underscore our commitment to working with districts so that they can take advantage of Race to the Top and other federal funding opportunities to fundamentally change the way students experience learning in our lowest performing schools, particularly in those high schools with the lowest graduation rates," said Ira Schwartz, Assistant Commissioner for Accountability.             

Consistent with New York’s approved Race to the Top (RTTT) plan and the United States Department of Education SIG guidelines, identified schools are eligible for SIG funds and RTTT resources to support implementation of one of four intervention models.  Of the 67 identified schools, 59 are Title I schools and 44 were identified for having graduation rates below 60 percent based on the performance of their students who first entered grade nine in 2003, 2004, and 2005.  (See Attachment B) 

Forty-three (43) of the identified schools are in New York City, nine in Buffalo, four each in Rochester and Syracuse, two in Albany, and one each in George-Junior Republic UFSD, Greenburgh Eleven UFSD, Mount Pleasant Cottage UFSD, Poughkeepsie and Schenectady.

 

SCHOOL DISTRICT

GRADES
3-8

HIGH SCHOOL

3-8 AND HS

TOTAL
Albany
1
1
-
2
Buffalo
5
4
-
9
George-Junior Republic
-
-
1
1
Greenburgh Eleven
1
-
-
1
Mount Pleasant Cottage
-
-
1
1
NYC
10
32
1
43
Poughkeepsie
-
1
-
1
Rochester
-
-
4
4
Schenectady
-
1
-
1
Syracuse
1
3
-
4
Total
18
42
7
67

This list includes 27 schools that were identified as PLA last year that did not implement one of the four intervention models for the 2010-11 school year. The list does not include the 28 PLA schools identified last year that are implementing one of the four models for the 2010-11 school year.  In addition, there are schools in three Special Act school districts that were identified as PLA only, and not as SURR, included on the list: George-Junior Republic Union Free School District (UFSD), Greenburgh Eleven UFSD, and Mount Pleasant Cottage UFSD. 

Districts with PLA schools are required to submit plans to the Commissioner for approval to implement one of the following four federally approved intervention strategies.  Districts are encouraged to enter into agreements with external partners to support the schools in implementing the chosen intervention models.

 

Intervention Models

Summary of the Required Components

Turnaround Model
The turnaround model results in the complete redesign or replacement of the existing school.

Replace the principal and replace at least 50% of the staff; 
Implement incentives (financial, career) to promote recruitment and retention of high quality staff and provide high quality professional development to staff;
Adopt a new school governance structure;
Use student performance data to inform and differentiate instruction;
Increase learning time;
Provide appropriate social-emotional supports and community-oriented services to students.

Restart Model
A restart model may include either conversion of a school to a charter school or the replacement of a public school by a new charter school that will serve the students who would have attended the public school. Alternatively, the district may contract with an Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) to manage or re-open the school. Under certain circumstances districts may also enter into contracts with the State University of New York, or in New York City, the City University of New York, for them to manage public schools.

 

 


Convert or close the school and re-open under a charter school operator, charter management organization (CMO), or educational partnership organization. 

Enroll in the restart school, within the grades it serves, any former student who wishes to attend the school.

Transformation Model
A school that opts for a transformation model does not close but rather remains identified until it demonstrates improved academic results.  (A district with more than 9 PLA schools [New York City, Rochester and Buffalo] may not use this model for more than 50% of identified schools.)

Similar to the Turnaround Model but does not require the replacement of 50% of the staff. Instead, the school must
use a rigorous and equitable evaluation system for teachers and principals and reward school leaders, teachers, and other staff who, in implementing this model, have increased student achievement and high school graduation rates, and identifies/removes those who, after ample professional development, have not increased student achievement.  The evaluation system must comply with recently enacted state legislation.

 School Closure

Close the school and enroll the students who attended the school in higher achieving schools in the district.

 

Today’s announcement marks the first time that the State Education Department is identifying schools for registration review based primarily on whether the school meets the criteria to be identified as a PLA.  Previously, schools had been identified for registration review based on whether they were farthest from a state standard in English language arts or mathematics and judged by the Commissioner to be most in need of improvement. Under the new process, a school that is identified as a PLA because it is in the Restructuring phase of the accountability continuum, has low performance in ELA and mathematics combined and has not demonstrated progress in recent years or has a graduation rate below 60% for three consecutive years is concurrently preliminarily identified as a school under registration review.  This year, the Department placed under Registration Review all of the schools newly identified as PLA except for the six schools that had been previously identified as SURR and the three schools located in Special Act School Districts, where the Department determined that these schools’ unique mission and circumstances did not warrant their being identified as SURR at this time.

he following schools that had been identified using the previous registration review methodology have been removed from registration review because they achieved their previously established targets:

BEDS

School

District

Year Identified

Criteria

Performance Index

Targets

140600010130

FRANK A SEDITA SCHOOL #30

BUFFALO CITY SD

2001

3-8 ELA
3-8 Math

138
156

126
113

320700011547

NEW EXPLORERS HIGH SCHOOL

NYC GEOG DIST # 7

2008

HS ELA

163

140

320800010424

MS 424 - THE HUNTS POINT SCHOOL

NYC GEOG DIST # 8

2007

3-8 ELA

127

123

320900010230

PS 230 DR ROLAND N PATTERSON

NYC GEOG DIST # 9

2008

3-8 ELA

133

131

321000011243

WEST BRONX ACAD FOR THE FUTURE

NYC GEOG DIST # 10

2008

HS ELA

167

139

660900010025

NELSON MANDELA COMM HS

MT VERNON SD

2007

HS ELA

143

126

As a result of today’s announcement, the number of schools identified as SURR has increased to 81, a substantial increase from the 29 schools that were on the list based on the previous methodology.  (See Attachment C)

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New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

Last Updated: March 17, 2011