New York Schools in Need of Improvement

By: Patricia Hawke

Of the 946 high schools within the New York schools, 228 have been identified as needing improvement under federal and state rules, according to an announcement made in mid-September by the New York schools.

All schools within the New York schools are held accountable for the academic achievement of students by race and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and low-income students. They are graded at the end of each school year by the New York schools, according to their grading standards as well as federal rules.

Of the 228 high schools, 18 were newly identified this year. Twenty-nine high schools met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years in all areas previously identified as needing improvement and were removed from the list this year. Seventy-five made AYP last year and, if they make AYP this school year, they will be removed from the list next year. Though many of the New York schools on the list last year have raised their AYP scores, the number of high schools on the list only decreased statewide by eleven.

Title I funds are given to 107 of the identified 228 New York schools. They are considered Schools In Need of Improvement, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The other 121 New York schools identified are called Schools Requiring Academic Progress (SRAP) and do not receive Title I funding. The Title I schools are required to take a variety of actions, while the other New York schools identified must implement state accountability measures. All 228 New York schools will receive technical assistance to help improve student performance.

Of the 946 secondary New York schools, 653 have grades nine through twelve, with 293 also having grades seven and eight in-house. Here are the total New York schools’ standings for its high schools:

• 718 high schools within the New York schools are in good standing,
• 27 New York schools are in their first year of needing improvement,
• 20 are in their second year,
• 21 need corrective action,
• 26 New York schools are in the planning stage of restructuring,
• 13 are in restructuring,
• 32 require academic progress (SRAP), first year,
• 28 are in year two of requiring academic progress, and
• 14 are in year four or more of requiring academic progress.

Three New York schools within their third year of restructuring and one in year seven of SRAP face possible closing or phasing out, if they do not improve during this school year.

The New York schools require different actions for schools identified at the different levels of needing improvement. The worse the school’s AYP score and the longer it has been on the New York schools list, the more that is required to be implemented at the school in order to improve student academic achievement. Actions range from parental school choice, to strengthening core academic subjects, to providing high quality professional development for teachers, to teacher mentoring programs, to implementing new curriculum, and so on. The New York schools could even bring in outside experts to assist New York schools principals in raising their AYP scores or restructure the entire school’s internal organization.

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