by Howard Blume | LA Times
March 9, 2010 -- A new list of California’s lowest-performing schools includes 39 from Los Angeles County, and a few surprises are among them.
California education officials released their preliminary list Monday and 23 are part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest.
Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools: LIST OF FIRST TIER SCHOOLS IN LAUSD►
State officials are required to compile the list as a result of state and federal law to make these schools eligible for federal improvement grants. The list represents the lowest-performing 5% of California schools.
Five of the schools are in the Compton Unified School District and two in Lynwood Unified.
California is expected to receive about $415 million from school improvement grants this year. The state, in turn, will hand out grants to schools ranging from $50,000 to $2 million annually per campus for up to three years, officials said. About 190 schools are eligible.
But there are strings attached: Schools that accept the money must adopt one of four federally approved reform models.
The most aggressive include, for example, shutting down a school entirely, but even the least disruptive “transformation” model involves replacing the principal and linking principal and teacher evaluations to test scores.
The preliminary list of schools included some surprises because the formula for selecting schools roped in some higher-performing schools. Federal officials may yet allow the state to remove some of these relatively high performers.
Workman High in the City of Industry, for example, ended up on the list even though it far surpassed its specified improvement target this year on the state’s Academic Performance Index.
The list of 23 L.A. Unified schools did not include six of the 12 that district officials themselves had singled out as bad enough to warrant a possible takeover, including Garfield and San Pedro high schools. Nor did the list include Fremont High, at which the district is requiring staff to re-interview for jobs.
The reason for the discrepancy is the use of different rubrics. L.A. Unified looked only at performance last year. The state averaged the percentage of students proficient in math and English over the last three years. And a school also could exit the list if it had shown steady gains over five years.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the nation, has the most schools on the list. They have been working with all of them. ...
Daily Breeze - Melissa Pamer
Los Angeles Unified School District officials said the least drastic, most vague option - the "transformation model" - would likely be sought for Gardena ...
March 8, 2010
Contact: Hilary McLean, CEE
Contact: Dave Richey, OSE
State Schools Chief O'Connell, Education Secretary Reiss, and State Board of Education President Mitchell Release Preliminary List of Schools Identified as 5 Percent of Persistently Lowest Achieving and Call for Action to Improve Schools
SACRAMENTO — Working to ensure access to high-quality education for all students, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss, and State Board of Education President Theodore R. Mitchell today released a preliminary list of 188 California public schools identified as persistently lowest achieving.
The list is subject to approval by the State Board of Education which is expected to take up this issue, (agenda item #18) on Thursday at Agenda--March 10-11, 2010 - State Board of Education.
The schools identified as persistently lowest achieving must engage in a school intervention model as required by state and federal law.
"This is an opportunity to make dramatic changes at chronically underperforming schools," O'Connell said. "The intervention choices provide an opportunity to make systemic changes that improve teaching and learning. As a result, we will help prepare thousands of students for a brighter future."
"The parents and students of these underperforming schools deserve all our support in providing intervention choices to help transform these schools to better serve them and their communities," said Secretary Reiss. "It is time for bold action to help these students and schools."
"Identifying the state's persistently lowest-achieving schools is a significant step forward in ultimately transforming these schools and meeting the needs of our students," said State Board President Mitchell.
State and federal laws associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program require California to identify the state's low-achieving schools and to require the persistently lowest-achieving 5 percent of those schools to implement one of four school intervention models. The identification of the 5 percent of persistently lowest-achieving schools in California is a multi-step process that is informed by both federal and state law (SBx 51) by Senator Darrell Steinberg, (D-Sacramento).
Schools identified as the lowest 5 percent of the state's persistently lowest-achieving schools are required to implement one of the following four school intervention models:
- Turnaround Model: The local educational agency (LEA) undertakes a series of major school improvement actions, including but not limited to, replacing the principal and rehiring no more than 50 percent of the school's staff; adopting a new governance structure; and implementing an instructional program that is research-based and vertically aligned from one grade to the next, as well as aligned with California's adopted content standards.
- Restart Model: The LEA converts a school or closes and reopens a school under a charter school operator, a charter management organization (CMO), or an education management organization (EMO) that has been selected through a locally determined rigorous review process using state educational agency provided guidance. (A CMO is a non-profit organization that operates or manages charter schools by centralizing or sharing certain functions and resources among schools. An EMO is a for-profit or non-profit organization that provides "whole-school operation" services to a LEA.) A restart model school must enroll, within the grades it serves, any former student who wishes to attend the school.
- School Closure Model: The LEA closes a school and enrolls the students who attended that school in other schools in the LEA that are higher achieving. These other schools should be within reasonable proximity to the closed school and may include, but are not limited to, charter schools or new schools for which achievement data are not yet available.
- Transformation Model: The LEA implements a series of required school improvement strategies, including replacing the principal who led the school prior to implementation of the transformation model, and increasing instructional time.
LEAs and school districts are responsible for ensuring that one of the four school intervention models is implemented at each school identified as persistently lowest achieving. To fund these turnaround activities, LEAs may use funds provided through ARRA and SIG funds per the SIG program guidelines.
To view the list of schools identified as persistently lowest achieving, and for more information about the identification process, please visit Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools - Accountability.