ESEA FLEXIBILITY INFORMATION FROM STATE SUPERINTENDENT PATRICIA I. WRIGHT
July 2, 2012
Highlights of Virginia’s Approved Flexibility Request from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
On Friday, June 29, 2012, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) was notified that the U.S. Department of Education (USED) approved Virginia’s request for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), (also known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001). The waiver does not exempt Virginia from ESEA totally, only from certain provisions within the law. Per Governor McDonnell’s request, I am distributing information about Virginia’s approved ESEA flexibility application to legislators, local school board members, superintendents, and other education stakeholder groups.
USED’s “Highlights of Virginia’s Flexibility Request” is attached. The following points may be of assistance in identifying immediate next steps for schools and school divisions. Please note that this provides a high level summary only. The VDOE will provide more detailed guidance to schools and divisions over the next few weeks.
- The terms of the ESEA waivers will be effective for federal accountability determinations in 2012-2013, based on assessment data from 2011-2012.
- The waivers are effective through the end of the 2013–2014 school year. A state may request an extension of the initial period of this flexibility prior to the start of the 2014–2015 school year unless it is superseded by reauthorization of the ESEA.
Annual Measurable Objectives and Title I School Improvement
- Virginia’s 2012-2013 Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs), which had been scheduled to advance to 91 percent passing in reading and 90 percent passing in mathematics, will be adjusted once the data from the 2011-2012 assessments have been verified by school divisions. Separate AMOs will be established for all students, for each proficiency gap group, and for each individual subgroup of students*.
- Virginia’s “minimum n” has been reduced from 50 to 30. While the expectation is that all students will participate in statewide assessments, if fewer than the “minimum n” count of 30 students are in a group or subgroup, the individual performance of the group with a small n-size will not be included in federal accountability determinations. The assessment results of these students will be counted in the “all students” group.
- In order to meet federal accountability requirements, schools and divisions will be required to reduce failure rates in reading and mathematics by half during the next six years in each proficiency gap group and each individual subgroup. Additionally, high schools will need to meet federal graduation expectations.
- Data related to performance on the AMOs will be included in the online report cards issued for individual schools and school divisions. These data will be highlighted as part of a Proficiency Gap Dashboard prominently displayed in the School and Division Report Cards.
*Virginia’s Proficiency Gap Groups and Subgroups
|Proficiency Gap Groups||Individual Subgroups|
Gap Group 1 – students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students (unduplicated count)
· Gap Group 2 – Black students, not of Hispanic origin, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students
· Gap Group 3 – Hispanic students, of one or more races, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students
· Asian students
· White students
· Economically disadvantaged students
· English language learners
· Students with disabilities
Priority and Focus Schools vs Adequate Yearly Progress
- The term “Adequate Yearly Progress” will no longer be used, and schools and divisions will not be identified as Schools or Divisions in Improvement in Year 1, Year 2, etc. Rather, Virginia will identify:
- Title I Priority Schools based on overall student achievement in reading and mathematics, including graduation rates in the case of high schools. The number of priority schools will be equivalent to five percent of the commonwealth’s Title I schools, or 36 schools. NonTitle I high schools that have already been identified as a School Improvement Grant (SIG) school as a result of not meeting the Federal Graduation Indicator will also become a Priority School.
- Title I Focus Schools based on the academic achievement in reading and mathematics of students in three "proficiency gap groups" comprising students who historically have had difficulty meeting the commonwealth’s achievement standards. The number of focus schools will be equivalent to ten percent of the commonwealth’s Title I schools, or 72 schools.
- Reward schools based on schools that are recognized under the Virginia Index of Performance (VIP), Title I Distinguished Schools, and Blue Ribbon Schools.
Title I Sanctions
- Existing Title I sanctions under NCLB will be waived. Public school choice and Supplemental Educational Services will not be required. However, it is the VDOE’s understanding that students who are already participating in public school choice must be allowed to remain in their new school up to the highest grade of that school. The Department is seeking guidance from USED on whether or not school divisions must continue to pay transportation costs for these students.
- Priority schools will be expected to implement an intervention model aligned with the USED turnaround principles, and focus schools will be expected to implement interventions that address the performance of proficiency gap groups. All other Title I schools with one or more individual subgroups not meeting AMOs will be expected to implement improvement plans to address the performance of identified groups.
Teacher and Principal Evaluation
- Virginia must implement the performance standards for teachers and principals set forth in the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers and Administrators (PDF) as approved by the Board of Education. The performance standards for teachers became effective July 1, 2012, and those for principals will become effective July 1, 2013. School divisions will have to certify that student academic progress (Standard 7) comprises 40 percent of teachers’ and principals’ total evaluation. Additionally, all evaluations must result in a summative rating.
Both the VDOE and USED have released several documents that may be useful in understanding the terms of the waiver:
- VDOE New Release, June 29, 2012
- U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s approval letter to Virginia, June 29, 2012 (Word)
- Virginia’s complete approved request (PDF)
- USED Highlights of Virginia’s Flexibility Application (PDF)