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Press Release

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Department of Education Launches New Program to Help Schools In Need of Improvement

Program provides focused support to help schools meet federal and state proficiency goals

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Education (DOE) today launched a federal pilot program that grants flexibility in the targeted assistance provided to schools in need of improvement. Targeted support services will include school improvement planning, professional development and curriculum alignment. Florida’s participation in the pilot program gives the department flexibility in determining the level of its involvement in each school’s improvement efforts.

“This new program allows state and federal accountability systems to work in a complementary fashion, and gives Florida the flexibility it needs to help schools improve their performance,” said Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith. “The Department will continue its work with school districts to ensure each and every school receives the support it needs to be successful.”

The federal Differentiated Accountability pilot program will provide 1,081 Florida schools with focused levels of support based on the school’s grade and the percentage of federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements it has missed for two or more consecutive years.

To identify the appropriate level of support needed, the 1,081 schools were placed into five improvement categories based on their state-assigned letter grade, percentage of AYP requirements met, and the number of years they have failed to achieve AYP. Although the majority of the schools that will receive support through the program are Title I schools (schools that receive federal funding for low-income students), the program will also assist non-Title I schools that received a state grade of “D” or “F.”

Support services provided to schools beginning during the 2008-09 school year will vary depending on the amount of improvement needed, with schools needing the most improvement receiving the most intensive support services. Support will be focused on nine primary areas of improvement that include school-wide planning, leadership development, teacher training, curriculum, school choice, tutoring, and monitoring progress. Thirteen schools will face the most intensive actions such as restructuring or closure.

To maximize the effectiveness of the support given to these schools, DOE will establish five regional offices located in specific geographical areas of the state. A regional leader will oversee and provide services that will enhance the overall school improvement efforts in the region. The regional team will also include experts in primary and secondary curriculums who will assist in the development and evaluation of district and school improvement plans and monitor the implementation of interventions.

To view the list of schools visit http://www.fldoe.org/news/2008/2008_07_29/2008DAList.xls (Excel). To view the list of schools, including detailed information regarding the support services for each improvement category, visit http://www.fldoe.org/news/2008/2008_07_29/diffaccountimplem.pdf (PDF).

About Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

Required as part of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, AYP measurements target the performance and participation of various student subgroups on statewide assessments in 39 separate criteria based on such areas as students’ race, socioeconomic status, disability, and English proficiency. Title I schools (schools that receive federal funding for low-income students) that fail to meet all 39 criteria face the same types of corrective action regardless of how many of the federal AYP criteria met or the school grade they received. Of Florida’s 2,512 schools measured for AYP this year, less than half (44 percent) are Title I.

To learn more about the federal Differentiated Accountability pilot program, visit www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/07/07012008.html.