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Press Release

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Florida is One of Six States Selected to Implement Federal School Improvement Pilot Program
Differentiated Accountability program gives Florida flexibility in assisting low performing schools

TALLAHASSEE – Florida is one of six states selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s differentiated accountability pilot program. The pilot program allows Florida to create a tiered approach to address required interventions for Title I schools that have not made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act for two or more years. Florida’s selection into the program is based on a proposal that links state and federal accountability systems to identify schools that need focused preventive measures, those in need of more serious corrective action, and those that require intensive intervention such as restructuring or closure.

“Under this pilot program, schools in Florida that miss a few AYP criteria can easily be distinguished from schools exhibiting widespread areas of deficiency,” said Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith. “This will give us more flexibility in our improvement and intervention strategies for these schools, and allow our state and federal accountability systems to work in a complementary fashion.”

Participation in the pilot program allows Florida to reclassify its Title I schools that do not achieve AYP into three main improvement levels based on the school’s letter grade, percentage of AYP requirements met, and the number of years it has not made AYP. While this reclassification does not change federal or state accountability requirements, it does allow a more accommodating approach to implementing corrective actions for these schools. The three types of improvement levels are:

  • Preventive: Schools at this level are in their first four years of not making AYP and must implement varying levels of focused preventative measures to correct specific issues. This category is subdivided into “A,” “B” and “C” schools that have met 80 percent or more of AYP criteria and schools that have met less than 80 percent of AYP criteria, including all “D” and “F” schools. It is anticipated that “A,” “B” and “C” schools that meet at least 80 percent of AYP criteria will require less stringent levels of assistance than the other schools in this category.
  • Corrective: Schools at this level have failed to achieve AYP for five or more years and require more serious corrective action in order to resolve persistent weaknesses. This category is subdivided into “A,” “B” and “C” schools that have met 80 percent or more of AYP criteria and schools who have met less than 80 percent of AYP criteria, including all “D” and “F” schools. It is anticipated that all schools in this category will require substantial, targeted assistance in order to successfully meet AYP requirements.
  • Intensive: These schools have failed to achieve AYP for five or more years in addition to demonstrating severe, long-standing reading and mathematics-based deficiencies. They require the most intensive intervention methods such as restructuring and closure.

The Florida Department of Education will begin working with schools and districts on program implementation and improvement strategies following the release of 2007-08 school grade and AYP results. Full implementation is expected to be in place for the 2008-09 school year. For more information about the differentiated accountability pilot program, visit http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/07/07012008.html. To view Florida’s proposal, visit http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/differentiatedaccountability/fldap.pdf.