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November 15, 2011, Status Letter

Letter Head: Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

November 15, 2011

Dear Select County and District Superintendents:

STATUS OF LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY IN PROGRAM IMPROVEMENT YEAR 3 CORRECTIVE ACTION

This letter is to notify you of the status of your local educational agency (LEA) in Program Improvement (PI) Year 3 Corrective Action.

As you know, your LEA advanced to PI Year 3 in September 2011. The State Board of Education (SBE) is required by Section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and California Education Code (EC) Section 52055.57(d) to assign one or more corrective actions to LEAs identified for PI Year 3.

At its November 9, 2011 meeting, the SBE assigned Corrective Action 6 to each of the 55 LEAs that advanced to PI Year 3 in September 2011. In addition, the SBE adopted a revised definition of Corrective Action 6 to include the provision for professional development related to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as materials are available, such as LEA-wide professional development to increase awareness and understanding of the main concepts of the SBE-adopted CCSS, potential areas of integration of CCSS concepts and skills with current curriculum materials, and implications for improved rigor in effective instruction, student engagement and depth of knowledge. Each of the 55 LEAs is required to implement the following:

  • Implement a standards-based/standards-aligned curriculum by providing:

    1. SBE-adopted kindergarten through grade eight (K–8 [2001 or later]) and standards-aligned grades nine through twelve (9–12) core, and intervention materials, as appropriate, in reading English-language arts and mathematics to all students.

    2. Support for a coherent instructional program in all schools based upon full implementation of the SBE adopted/standards-aligned instructional materials in every classroom, including interventions as needed.

  • Provide appropriate professional development, including, but not limited to, materials-based professional development and use of effective instructional strategies.

  • Provide professional development related to the CCSS as materials are available, such as LEA-wide professional development to increase awareness and understanding of the main concepts of the SBE-adopted CCSS, potential areas of integration of CCSS concepts and skills with current curriculum materials, and implications for improved rigor in effective instruction, student engagement and depth of knowledge.

  • Ensure full implementation of the curriculum as measured by LEA support for implementation of the district assistance and intervention team (DAIT) standards adopted by the SBE in September 2009, and the nine Essential Program Components (EPCs) for instructional success at the school level.

  • Target the instructional needs of students not meeting proficiency targets, especially English learners, students with disabilities, and any high-priority students not meeting standards.

As the gap between the current federal and state accountability systems has widened, recommendations for technical assistance for LEAs in corrective action have evolved in response to higher levels of academic achievement demonstrated in later cohorts. At its November 9, 2011 meeting, SBE discussions focused on the higher levels of academic achievement demonstrated by LEAs in Cohort 5, specifically, LEAs that scored at or above 800 on their 2011 Growth Academic Performance Index. SBE discussions also addressed the need to focus technical assistance resources on the specific student groups in need of improvement. 

Pursuant to EC 52055.57(d), LEAs in Cohort 5 that are assigned to the light category of performance problems are required to access technical assistance to aid with the implementation of Corrective Action 6. LEAs with PI schools assigned the light category will be provided funds of $50,000 per PI school to access technical assistance. No fiscal resources are identified for LEAs in Cohort 5 that do not have PI schools.

LEAs in Cohort 5 that are assigned to the moderate category of performance problems are required to contract with a self-selected DAIT or other technical assistance provider to receive guidance, support, and technical assistance to aid with the implementation of Corrective Action 6. LEAs assigned to the moderate category will be provided funds of $100,000 per PI school to aid with the implementation of Corrective Action 6. (See the enclosure for the level of technical assistance assigned by the SBE to each LEA in Cohort 5.)

These funds shall be expended according to the requirements of EC 52055.57(d) and Section 1120A(b) of the ESEA. A grant award notification letter to LEAs with PI schools containing information about how to access the funds will follow this announcement.

For LEAs in Cohort 5 that are assigned the moderate performance problems category, EC Section 52059(e)(1) states: “The standards and criteria that a DAIT or other technical assistance provider shall use in assessing a LEA shall address, at a minimum, all of the following areas:

(A) Governance.
(B) Alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessments to state standards.
(C) Fiscal operations.
(D) Parent and community involvement.
(E) Human resources.
(F) Data systems and achievement monitoring.
(G) Professional development.”

Further, the DAIT or other technical assistance provider “shall complete a report based on the findings from the needs assessment,” including recommendations for improving areas identified by the needs assessment. The California Department of Education (CDE) recommends focusing on three to five district priorities. 

Pursuant to Section 1116 of the ESEA, the SBE also required that each LEA in Cohort 5 revise its LEA Plan within three months of being identified for corrective action to document steps to fully implement Corrective Action 6. A template for completing the revised LEA Plan can be found on the CDE’s Web document at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ti/documents/leaptemplate.doc.

Each LEA in Cohort 5 must submit the local board approved revised LEA Plan, which includes the recommendations from the technical assistance provider for Cohort 5 LEAs assigned the moderate category of performance problems, to the for review and comment by Monday, March 10, 2012. Revised plans are to be submitted to Leap@cde.ca.gov. Hard copies of the revised plan are not required to be submitted. Also, each LEA must demonstrate progress of LEA Plan implementation and monitoring through annual electronic submission of local evidence to the CDE as described here:

  • A mid-year and end-of-year summary description of the LEA’s progress towards implementation of the strategies and actions in the LEA Plan.
  • Documentation of a mid-year and end-of-year data analysis of the LEA’s progress towards student achievement goals in the LEA Plan based on local assessment data.
  • Documentation of annual communication with the local governing board regarding the LEA’s progress toward student achievement goals in the LEA Plan.

LEAs will be notified in advance by the CDE regarding the details and timeline for the annual submission of evidence to demonstrate progress.

Finally, parents should be notified by the LEA within 30 days of the SBE-assigned corrective action. A sample template for parent notification can be found on the CDE’s Parental Notification Templates Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ti/parnotpi.asp.

On December 8, 2011, the CDE will host a Webinar focused on the process of LEA planning. An additional purpose of the Webinar is to provide guidance regarding expectations for LEAs and technical assistance providers in response to the current fiscal climate and transition to the implementation of the CCSS System. LEAs in Cohort 5 and their technical assistance provider, if applicable, are requested to participate. An invitation will be e-mailed to you soon. For your reference, information about the CCSS can be found on the CDE’s CCSS Resources Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cc/.

Further information and technical assistance regarding requirements for LEAs in PI, including support for PI schools, can be found on the CDE’s Program Improvement Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ti/programimprov.asp. Please note the state program evaluation tools and rubrics on this Web page have been updated for 2011–12.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Keith Coppage, Education Programs Consultant, District Innovation and Improvement Office, by phone at 916-319-0651 or by e-mail at kcoppage@cde.ca.gov. [Note, the preceding contact information is no longer valid and has been replaced by Alejandro Hernandez, Education Programs Consultant, District Innovation and Improvement Office, by phone at 916-319-0940 or by e-mail at ahernandez@cde.ca.gov.]

Sincerely,

/s/

Deborah V.H. Sigman, Deputy Superintendent
District, School and Innovation Branch

DS:kc
Enclosure

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