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Request for Waiver of Provisions Support Letter 7

Support letter from Barbara Nemko requesting a waiver of provisions of sections of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Accessible Alternative Version of the letter from Barbara Nemko, page 31-32 of the Waiver Support Letters (PDF; 4MB).
This document provides text translation of the letter of support from Barbara Nemko regarding the Request for Waiver of Provisions letter.

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Napa County Office of Education
2121 Imola Avenue
Napa CA 94559-3625
TEL 707-253-5600
FAX 707-253-6841

Barbara G. Nemko, Ph.D.

Business Services

Fiscal Services

General Services

Human Resources

Educational Services

Court & Community Schools

Curriculum & Instruction

Early Childhood Services

Regional Occupational Program

Safe Schools/Healthy Students


May 22, 2012

Michael Kirst, President
California State Board of Education
California Department of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Dr. Kirst,

This letter is to express our strongest possible support for California's "state defined" waiver request which will be before you on or after June 7, 2012.

We commend the Governor, State Board of Education and State Superintendent Tom Torlakson for strengthening California's request for a general waiver. It is essential that we are successful in our waiver request and are relieved from the current over-identification of schools and districts in program improvement. As school districts struggle during difficult financial times, we have an urgent need for greater spending flexibility to increase student achievement. Lastly, we need to transition to a single, transparent, state accountability system, as the current practice of reporting scores on dual accountability systems is confusing and incomprehensible to the general public.

Schools and districts in Napa County have continued to show impressive growth on our API scores. Yet, out of the many measures of AYP that we have met, one subgroup not meeting AYP has put schools into Program Improvement, undermining public confidence and teacher morale, instead of recognizing the growth and achievement that has been accomplished.

We believe evolving our current API system is best for California and its students. It is generally agreed that the focus on the more onerous status bar model of AYP has been an impediment to our moving forward to improve our API. California has been and will remain committed to continuous student achievement for all students and all subgroups.

We appreciate the timelines outlined in the waiver which demonstrate a strong commitment on the part of the State to consider revisions to the API (January 2013), determination of targeted schools and districts for improvement (March 2013) and identification of sanctions (interventions) based on the severity and persistence of underachievement problems (July 2013). We stand ready to assist our state and we assure you of our continued commitment to strong accountability measures on behalf of our students.

Thank you for supporting and strengthening the waiver request. It is time to move it forward so that we can continue to improve the education we provide to the children of California.


{Signature of Barbara Nemko}

Barbara Nemko, Ph.D.
Napa County Superintendent of Schools

{Signature of Patrick Sweeney}

Patrick Sweeney, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District

{Signature of Bill McGuire}

Bill McGuire, Superintendent
St. Helena Unified School District

{Signature of Esmeralda Mondragon}

Superintendent, Calistoga Joint Unified School District

{Signature of Tom Stubbs}

Tom Stubbs, Superintendent
Howell Mountain Elementary School District

{Signature of Florence Eaton}

Florence Eaton, Superintendent
Pope Valley Union School District

Questions:   State Board of Education | 916-319-0827
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