News: New York State Board of Regents, State Education Department, USNY


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State Education Commissioner Richard Mills today removed 25 schools from Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) status, the largest number of schools ever removed from registration review in a year.  SURR schools are those farthest from meeting State standards and face the possibility of closure if they do not make improvements required by the Commissioner.

The Commissioner also announced that he had placed an additional five schools under registration review and that four schools in New York City and Buffalo that otherwise would have been named to SURR status will be phased out and closed under agreements with the districts.

These actions bring the total number of Schools Under Registration Review to 43 statewide, 20 of them in New York City, the smallest number of SURR schools since the initial year of the program in 1989.  

Of the schools removed from registration review this year, 13 were in New York City; 6 in Buffalo; 3 in Syracuse; and 1 each in Rochester, Roosevelt, and Wyandanch.   Of the 5 schools identified, 4 are in New York City and 1 is in Rochester.

Commissioner Mills said, “The large number of schools removed this year reflects the significant improvement of many schools in English Language Arts and Mathematics since the inception of the Grades 3-8 assessment program in the 2005-2006 school year. While these schools have made progress, there is much unfinished work, and these schools must now build upon these efforts to increase student achievement.”

The Commissioner also announced that he has reached agreements with the Chancellor of the New York City public schools and the superintendent of the Buffalo School District to phase out a total of three current SURR schools (two in Buffalo and one in New York City).  In addition, four schools that would have been placed on the SURR list will be closed, three in New York City and one in Buffalo.

Last year, the cut-points for SURR identification were raised by eight points on the School Performance Index (SPI) for Grades 3-8 and High School English Language Arts and Mathematics.  Many of the lowest performing schools in the State showed strong gains in performance last year and, despite the increase in the cut-point, the number of schools farthest from State standards declined from 06-07 to 07-08.  This, combined with the aggressive efforts of some districts to close low-performing schools, resulted in fewer schools being identified for registration review this year.

“We are encouraged that the efforts of districts and schools have resulted in this large number of schools removed from registration review,” said Chancellor of the Board of Regents Robert Bennett.  “The progress made by the Roosevelt Middle School, a SURR school for four years located in a district that has been a particular focus of the Regents, is encouraging news."         

Johanna Duncan Poitier, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education – P-16 said, “I am especially proud of the hard work that the educators, school board and children of the Roosevelt School District have done to improve student achievement.”

Since 1989, 312 schools have been identified for registration review. Of these, 228 have been removed because of improving academic performance, including 61 that have been removed in the last five years. An additional 66 schools that did not meet their performance targets have been closed by school districts, including 6 last year. 

The level of achievement that schools were required to demonstrate to avoid possible consideration for registration review was a Performance Index of 106 in Elementary-Middle Level English, 93 in Elementary-Middle Level Math, and 116 in High School English and Mathematics. 

Below are links to the lists of schools identified for, and removed from, registration review.

SPI Definition:  The SPI is computed by giving one point to a school for each student performing at Level 2 and two points for each student performing at Level 3 or 4 and dividing by the total number of students. For example, if 10 students perform at Level 1, 20 at Level 2, and 25 at Levels 3 and 4, the school’s SPI will be 127 (0 + 20 + 50/55).

New Schools Identified for Registration Review, March 2009 (Attachment A)

Schools Removed from Registration Review, March 2009 (Attachment B)

SURR Schools to Be Phased Out/Closed (Attachment C)

Schools Not Identified for Registration Review Because of Decision to Phase Out/Close School (Attachment D)

Schools Under Registration Review (SURR), March 2009 (Attachment E)