California's 1999 Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) SB1x requires that all schools be held accountable under systems developed by the California Department of Education (CDE). Accordingly, California Education Code (EC) Section 52052[h] required:
The Superintendent, with the approval of the State Board of Education, shall develop an alternative accountability system for schools under the jurisdiction of a county board of education or a county superintendent of schools, community day schools, . . . and alternative schools serving high-risk pupils, including continuation high schools and opportunity schools . . .
The CDE, in conjunction with the PSAA Subcommittee on Alternative Accountability, developed the Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM) in 2000.
Schools participating in the ASAM are required to meet all federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 accountability requirements, specifically Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and Academic Performance Index (API) criteria for AYP.
Schools participating in the ASAM are also required to meet state PSAA requirements. These requirements have changed beginning with the 2009–10 ASAM due to funding constraints.
On November 5, 2008, the State Board of Education (SBE) had approved a conceptual framework for redesigning the existing ASAM. The framework had been used during 2008–09 and 2009–10 as the basis for developing and implementing a revised ASAM system, to be phased in over three years from 2010–11 to 2012–13.
In October 2010, the Governor signed the state budget and in doing so vetoed funding for the data collection and reporting of the ASAM program as well as for identifying and disseminating best practices of alternative schools. Due to the lack of funding, in November 2010 the CDE eliminated reporting for the 2009–10 ASAM cycle and a full-time position that had administered the ASAM program. In addition, the CDE has stopped all work on the revised ASAM.
Since the beginning of the 2010–11 API cycle, the CDE:
- Continues designating schools as ASAM if the school meets the established SBE criteria. This means that the CDE posts the ASAM application on the CDE ASAM Web pages and accepts applications from eligible schools.
- The CDE continues to review these applications for compliance with SBE criteria and notifies the schools of their ASAM status.
- The CDE maintains a database of all ASAM schools and updates it annually.
- Provides all ASAM schools API reports under the API system starting with the 2010 Base API, including growth targets.
- Does not provide ASAM schools with API ranks consistent with EC Section 52052(h) exempting ASAM schools from receiving API ranks,
These activities are consistent with existing state law as it relates to accountability for alternative schools and are appropriate for existing resources. Beginning in 2010–11, the CDE does not produce ASAM reports, and ASAM schools are not required to report ASAM data to the CDE. Instead, for state accountability requirements, ASAM schools are held accountable under the API and receive growth targets but not ranks. This change does not preclude ASAM schools from locally collecting and reporting data about their school for their own use and benefit.
ASAM Eligibility Requirements
The SBE adopted criteria for ASAM eligibility in 2000 and 2003. A school is eligible to apply for the ASAM if it meets either of the following criteria:
Defined Alternative Schools
Alternative schools that are explicitly defined in the EC as serving high-risk students are automatically eligible to participate in the ASAM. These are schools with one of the following school types:
- Continuation (EC sections 48400 et. seq)
- County or District Community Day (EC sections 48660-48926)
- Opportunity (EC sections 48640 and 48641)
- County Community (EC sections 1980-1986)
- Juvenile Court (EC sections 48645-48645.6)
- California Education Authority, Division of Juvenile Justice (Welfare and Institutions Code [WIC] sections 1120-1125.5)
To participate in ASAM, these schools must complete the following application:
- Application (DOC)
Other Alternative Schools
Other alternative schools are schools that may serve high-risk students, but are not explicitly required to do so in the EC. These include (1) alternative schools of choice and (2) charter schools. These schools must have at least 70 percent of the school’s total enrollment comprised of high-risk groups to be eligible for ASAM. The high risk groups include the following:
- Expelled (EC Section 48925 [b]) including situations in which enforcement of the expulsion order was suspended (EC 48917)
- Suspended (EC Section 48925 [d]) more than 10 days in a school year
- Wards of the Court (WIC Section 601 or 602) or dependents of the court (WIC Section 300 or 654)
- Pregnant and/or Parenting
- Recovered Dropouts
- Habitually Truant (EC Section 48262) or Habitually Insubordinate and Disorderly whose attendance at the school is directed by a school attendance review board or probation officer (EC Section 48263)
- Retained More Than Once in kindergarten through grade eight
Pursuant to the SBE action in June 2003, to establish eligibility to participate in the ASAM, these schools must complete the following application: