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June 14, 2005

Melanie Mowry Etters
(850) 245-0413

Memos Regarding Provisional Adequate Yearly Progress Designation

In an effort to keep you informed we would like to share the following information with you regarding Florida’s Provisional Adequate Yearly Progress designation by the US Department of Education.

June 10, 2005

TO: School District Superintendents

FROM: John L. Winn

SUBJECT: NCLB Flexibilities

On Monday, June 8th, Governor Bush and I had the opportunity to release the 2005 School Grades and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results. The theme of this year’s story is how all of Florida’s school districts have risen to the challenge of higher standards to reach the goal of higher student achievement, a clear reflection of your tremendous work.

In recognition of Florida’s success under the A+ Plan, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has granted Florida new Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) flexibilities. As I shared at the press conference, these flexibilities are unprecedented and represent a unique partnership we have formed with the USDOE. This partnership is a result of the new path for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) spearheaded by Secretary Margaret Spellings and announced on April 7, 2005. This new partnership is a big step toward a more seamless system and an opportunity to work together to truly serve each and every child.

While we are still in the midst of defining aspects of this new partnership, including the new Provisional AYP designation, I ask for your patience and assure you that we are working diligently to provide you with answers. We are mindful of your need to notify parents and share your sense of urgency.

Reflecting on our negotiations, I believe the results are quite amazing. Within just two months—with negotiations starting April 1—Florida has been able to gain approval on four significant amendments (see timeline below). The first three amendments (revised proficiency targets, subgroup size, and an adjustment for students with disabilities) have been widely discussed and the technical assistance paper is available on our website.

Many of you have asked for details about the fourth amendment, Provisional AYP. At this point in time, this amendment grants Florida’s top A and B schools Provisional AYP status. This amendment is important because it blends NCLB’s AYP with our state’s A+ Plan to maximize student achievement and maintain our focus on all students reaching proficiency. The specifics surrounding the Provisional AYP designation continue to be negotiated on a daily basis. We appreciate your patience while we work with USDOE to further define Provisional AYP. We will keep you apprised of our progress.

I’m proud to be working with you to set the bar here and across the nation.

Florida’s Timeline for NCLB Amendments

Date(s) Progress
March  2 Governor Bush and Commissioner Winn visit Secretary Spellings in DC 
April 1 Florida submits its request for three AYP amendments 
April 7 Secretary Spellings announces new approach to implementing NCLB and promises additional flexibility to those states that show results and embrace the principles of NCLB 
April 25 Florida submits Raising Student Achievement: Florida’s Compelling Evidence 
May 2 Florida adds one additional flexibility request: Provisional AYP 
May 4–May 16 Florida negotiates with Secretary Spellings (et al.) on all requested amendments 
May 4 Florida hears from Secretary Spellings (et al.) – Florida’s response is the first and impressive 
May 10 Secretary Spellings sets out expectations for all states to meet principles and provides specific expectations for interim SWD flexibility 
May 13 Florida provides requested justification and data for SWD flexibility 
May 16 Secretary Spellings visits and acknowledges Florida is a model and the first state to receive AYP flexibility: 1. Proficiency targets increase annually instead of every three years and 2. A subgroup size has to represent at least 30 students and 15 percent of the school population or 100 students. Secretary Spellings commits to discussing two additional flexibilities on SWD and Provisional AYP and asks Commissioner Winn to join task force to shape growth model flexibility.
May 16-June 6   Florida negotiates with Secretary Spellings (et al.) on SWD amendment 
June 6 Secretary Spellings grants SWD flexibility, A mathematical adjustment for the students with disabilities subgroup, and Provisional AYP status for Florida’s high performing A and B schools. 
June 6–June 10 Florida negotiates with Secretary Spellings regarding Provisional AYP

June 13, 2005

TO: District School Superintendents

FROM: David Mosrie
          Chief Executive Officer

SUBJECT: Provisional Adequate Yearly Progress

Late Friday afternoon, districts received a memorandum from Commissioner John Winn clarifying the Department’s position on Provisional Adequate Yearly Progress (P/AYP) (Attached). As the Commissioner stated in his memorandum, P/AYP came as a late-breaking agreement with USDOE. By declaring that “A” and “B” schools under Florida’s A+ Plan have been deemed to make some form of adequate yearly progress, it appears that the USDOE has recognized the rigor of the Florida system of school accountability.

The Association welcomes this recognition by the USDOE. For the last three years, the Association’s position has been that the alignment of A+ and NCLB is critically important to school districts in our state. Even though the lack of specifics regarding P/AYP creates a number of questions for districts regarding P/AYP schools and issues such as sanctions, choice and parent notification, we think that the designation of P/AYP is a step in the right direction.

Therefore, I encourage you to communicate to school communities faced with these questions the following:

  1. You support the intent of P/AYP in that it recognizes the achievement of “A” and “B” schools.
  2. We hope that the Department will get final clarification on specifics of P/AYP in the very near future.
  3. In the meantime, you will be in a brief “holding pattern” until these issues are addressed by the Florida DOE.

Again, we support the continued movement toward aligning A+ and NCLB and we need to make that clearly known to all concerned.