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The following text is extracted from the U.S. Department of Education's non-regulatory guidance titled "LEA and School Improvement" dated July 21 ,2006.

In some cases, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to achieve requires that the LEA intervene extensively in the functioning of a low-performing school. A school that continues to miss its annual achievement targets for several years is a school where some students have not met state standards in the core academic subjects of reading and mathematics over a sustained period of time. As a stage in the school improvement process, restructuring requires major changes in a school's operation.

G. SCHOOL RESTRUCTURING - YEAR ONE (PLANNING)

G-1. What is restructuring?

A school that misses its annual achievement targets for five or more years is identified for restructuring. If a school does not make AYP for five years, the LEA must create a plan to restructure the school. If the school does not make AYP for six years, the LEA must implement this plan.

Generally speaking, under NCLB when a school is in restructuring status, the LEA must take intensive and far-reaching interventions to revamp completely the operation and governance of that school. Restructuring means a major reorganization of a school's governance structure arrangement by an LEA that:

  • Makes fundamental reforms, such as significant changes in the school's staffing and governance, to improve student academic achievement in the school;
  • Has substantial promise to improve student academic achievement and enable the school to make AYP as defined by the State's accountability system; and
  • Is consistent with State law.

G-2. What causes a school to be identified for restructuring?

A school is identified for restructuring if it does not make AYP after one school year of corrective action.

School Year

School makes AYP (Y/N)

By end of 2001-02

N

By end of 2002-03

N

Beginning of 2003-04

Year 1, school improvement

By end of 2003-04

N

Beginning of 2004-05

Year 2, school improvement

By end of 2004-05

N

Beginning of 2005-06

Corrective action

By end of 2005-06

N

Beginning of 2006-07

Year 1 restructuring (planning)

G-3. What is the timeline for the restructuring process?

As defined in NCLB, school restructuring is a two-step process. Under the first step, the LEA must prepare a restructuring plan and make arrangements to implement the plan if a school does not meet its AYP targets after one full year of corrective action (fifth year of not making AYP). The second step occurs if, during the school year in which the LEA is developing the restructuring plan, the school does not make AYP for a sixth year. In this case, the LEA must implement the restructuring plan no later than the beginning of the following school year.

The following example illustrates this timeline: If a school is in corrective action during the 2005-06 school year and during that school year does not meet AYP, it will be identified for restructuring. The first year of restructuring (the planning year) will be the 2006-07 school year. If, once again during that year, the school does not meet AYP, the school will enter its second year of restructuring during the 2007-08 school year, in which the LEA will implement its restructuring plan. 1116(b)(8)

G-4. What notification requirements apply when a school is identified for restructuring?

When an LEA identifies a school for restructuring, it must -

  • Provide both parents and teachers with prompt notice of the decision;
  • Provide both groups with the opportunity to comment before it takes any restructuring action; and
  • Invite both teachers and parents to participate in the development of the school's restructuring plan. 1116(b)(8)(C)

Additional notification required for parents is similar to the notice required when a school enters corrective action. The LEA must notify the parents of all children enrolled in the school and explain -

  • What the identification means, and how academic achievement levels at this school compare to those at other schools in the LEA and in the SEA;
  • Why the school was identified and how they as parents can become involved in addressing the academic issues that led to the identification;
  • Their option to transfer their child to another public school in the LEA that is not identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring; and
  • The supplemental educational services that are available to eligible children.

G-5. What action must an LEA take when it identifies a school for restructuring?

When it identifies a Title I school for restructuring, an LEA must:

  • Continue to ensure that all students have the option to transfer to another public school in the LEA that is not identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring;
  • Continue to ensure that supplemental educational services are available to eligible students; and
  • Prepare a plan to implement an alternative governance system for the school. 200.43(b)(1), (2), and (3).

G-6. What responsibilities does an LEA have to parents of the children in a school that is planning for restructuring?

The process for developing a restructuring plan must be open and collaborative.

As noted in G-4, when a school is slated for restructuring, the LEA must promptly notify parents about both what is being done to improve the school and how parents can be involved in the development of any restructuring plan. The LEA must provide parents and teachers an opportunity to comment before the LEA develops the restructuring plan or takes any restructuring actions. Parents and teachers must also be provided the opportunity to participate in the development of any restructuring plan.

The parental notification requirements, along with the parental involvement provisions of NCLB, encourage LEAs and schools to explore strategies and tools to involve parents as meaningful and effective partners in their child's education. Successful parental involvement approaches develop parents as leaders and equal partners in the schooling process. These approaches do not begin and end when an LEA identifies a school for restructuring.

Parents need to be well informed about the school's progress so they can make good decisions about their child's education. If a school does not make AYP for a fifth year, parents will want to know why, and they should be given information about the extent of the problem and the types of restructuring options the LEA is considering to address the needs of students in the school. One approach is to hold collaborative, face-to-face community outreach meetings with parents to explain the restructuring options under NCLB and the data the LEA is using to make restructuring decisions. The LEA can use this outreach as an opportunity to establish a wider conversation about the school and invite greater parent participation in their child's education - including participation in activities that support the school's student achievement goals. The more transparent schools and LEAs are about student achievement and the overall condition of a school, the more likely that parents will be involved in the school and the public school system.

G-7. What alternative governance arrangements must an LEA plan to implement?

The restructuring plan that an LEA prepares must include one of the following "alternative governance" arrangements for the school, consistent with State law:

  • Reopen the school as a public charter school;
  • Replace all or most of the school staff, which may include the principal, who are relevant to the school's inability to make AYP;
  • Enter into a contract with an entity, such as a private management company, with a demonstrated record of effectiveness, to operate the school as a public school;
  • Turn the operation of the school over to the SEA if this action is permitted under State law and the State agrees; or
  • Implement any other major restructuring of the school's governance arrangement that is consistent with the NCLB principles of restructuring. (See H-1.)

The list of available alternative governance arrangements are meant to afford an LEA multiple options so that the LEA can choose the best one to address the needs of students in each identified school. Each option leverages a significant shift in how the school is governed. The purpose of restructuring is for the school to improve its ability to teach all children and achieve annual academic performance targets. By achieving this purpose, the school is also removed from restructuring status. 1116(b)(8)(B)

G-8. What constitutes "other major restructuring of the school's governance" under 1116(b)(8)(B)(v) of NCLB?

The focus of the school restructuring requirement is on the alternative governance arrangements that an LEA must carry out in a school that does not make AYP for five or more years. In preparing a restructuring plan, 1116(b)(8)(B)(v) permits an LEA to choose "any other major restructuring of the school's governance arrangement that makes fundamental reforms, such as significant changes in the school's staffing and governance, to improve academic achievement in the school and that has substantial promise of enabling the school to make adequate yearly progress." This restructuring option provides the LEA the flexibility to choose additional reform solutions that best meet the needs of students in the school and community. Examples of such efforts may include:

  • Change the governance structure of the school in a significant manner that either diminishes school-based management and decision making or increases control, monitoring, and oversight of the school's operations and educational program by the LEA;
  • Close the school and reopen it as a focus or theme school with new staff or staff skilled in the focus area (e.g., math and science, dual language, communication arts);
  • Reconstitute the school into smaller autonomous learning communities (e.g., school-within-a-school model, learning academies, etc.);
  • Dissolve the school and assign students to other schools in the district;
  • Pair the school in restructuring with a higher performing school so that K-3 grades from both schools are together and the 4-5 grades from both schools are together; and
  • Expand or narrow the grades served, for example, narrowing a K-8 school to a K-5 elementary school.

See G-10 for a broader discussion on non-governance issues that the LEA and school planners must address in planning for restructuring, including assessment, curriculum, professional development, etc.

G-9. If the restructuring process results in the creation of a new school, may that restructured school be treated like any other new school in the State's accountability system?

Yes, if in fact the restructured school is legitimately and legally a new school.

While most of the restructuring options outlined in section 1116(b)(8)(B) of

Title I would not result in the creation of a new school, it is possible that some restructuring options might. If, as a result of restructuring, a school is significantly reconfigured (for example, to serve different students and different grades) and accordingly meets the State's definition of a new school, that school may be treated like any other new school in the State. Depending on the State's operational rules, this may mean starting over on the school improvement timeline.

Some States, in their accountability plans, have indicated operational rules for determining AYP when a new school is created. In some cases, a State derives an AYP determination for the new school based on the scores of students feeding into the school or the AYP determinations of the schools from which the new school is created. In other cases, when an AYP determination cannot be derived, a State starts the new school afresh in the school improvement timeline. How a State treats a new school should depend on the extent to which the school has changed. For example, adding one grade, such as kindergarten, would likely not constitute a new school; however, adding three new grades out of six might. Whether a school is new depends on State law. A State must thus have a definition of what constitutes a new school and have adopted operational rules for how to make AYP determinations for new schools. For example, a State might conclude that a school is new if, among other things, the school attendance area is reconfigured so that the school serves more than 50 percent different students and/or the school serves significantly different grades. Similarly, a State might conclude that a school that converts to a charter school during restructuring is "new" because it has a significantly different population of students who gained admission through a lottery.

If a State has operational rules for determining AYP for new schools that differ from those applied to other schools, the State must amend its accountability plan to provide its definition of a new school and to describe how it determines AYP for new schools, including whether and under what circumstances a restructured school can be considered a new school. If a new school is created during the restructuring process, we encourage States to require the school to continue to offer supplemental educational services to eligible students, in order to keep them on track to meet high standards.

G-10. What process should an LEA follow to determine which "alternative governance" option is the right one and matches the reason the school is in year four of improvement?

In determining which alternative governance option to employ, LEA leaders need to understand how and when each option works to improve student learning based upon the school's strengths and weaknesses. The restructuring process must be substantial enough to transform and sustain change. The variety and rigor of restructuring options under NCLB allow an LEA to choose one or more "alternative governance" interventions that best address the identified needs of the school and school community. While these restructuring options can be described as discrete and can be categorized into particular types, none should be applied as an isolated quick fix (e.g., a principal change, a replacement of most or all staff, or contracting with an external education management provider). The restructuring intervention will likely not address all of the identified needs of a school and cannot substitute for a coherent plan for systemic change. The intervention the LEA chooses should be viewed as one strategy in a school's comprehensive plan for improvement.

In choosing an alternative governance option, the LEA and school planners should consider what has occurred in the school that resulted in its being identified for restructuring. Also, the restructuring plan should take into account the actions initiated in prior years. In other words, the actions required under the restructuring plan might be seen as deeper, broader, or more targeted to meet identified needs. For example, the LEA should make distinctions between schools in restructuring status that have experienced some improvement in student achievement and those that do not, and tailor the restructuring interventions accordingly. The LEA should use AYP to target the unique needs of a school's students to improve its ability to teach all children and achieve annual academic performance targets. By achieving this purpose, the school is also removed from restructuring status.

An LEA must also consider that governance changes alone will not likely produce significant changes in student performance without also considering such issues as staff development, curricula, instruction, use of technology, assessment, and other factors that are essential for success. Hiring and retaining qualified teachers and principals who are committed to restructuring can facilitate implementation. A highly skilled principal who is committed to restructuring is critical to authentic change; however, changing school leadership alone will likely not lead to significant change without the new principal being committed to restructuring and having the authority to make staffing and curricula changes. It has also become increasingly clear from research and practice that school leaders alone cannot bring about the desired improvement in the educational system in isolation - the restructuring plan will require the active support and involvement of school and district personnel, parents, teachers, business and community organizations, State education personnel, governmental agencies and others.

G-11. What type of "alternative governance option" should be chosen for a school that has been identified solely due to the performance of a specific student subgroup (i.e., students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, students who are economically disadvantaged) or solely due to insufficient participation?

Under NCLB, schools must show AYP in making sure that all students achieve academic proficiency in order to close the achievement gap. Therefore, schools need to be accountable for all students. To achieve that goal, AYP is intentionally designed to identify those areas where schools need to improve the achievement of their students. The ESEA aims to improve the achievement of all students and recognizes that schools must ensure that all student groups receive the support they need to achieve to high standards. By including students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, students who are economically disadvantaged, and other student subgroups in the overall accountability system, the law makes their achievement everybody's business in the school.

The primary goal of the NCLB is to improve academic achievement through high expectations and high-quality education programs. The statute works to achieve that goal by focusing on school accountability, teacher quality, parental involvement through access to quality information and choices about their children's education, and the use of evidence-based instruction. In determining which alternative governance option the school should implement, LEA and school staff should analyze the causes of why individual students are not learning, identify barriers to learning that affect students, and seek solutions to correct the problems. Planning for restructuring does not necessitate a "one size fits all" response and is intended to stimulate new thinking about how to address such concerns as the professional development needs of teachers, using appropriate instructional approaches, and effective organization and management of instruction. For example, a school undergoing restructuring may not be able to improve instruction without attending to leadership, improve leadership without emphasizing parent involvement, or concentrate on high-quality programs and evidenced-based student interventions without identifying the specific problem areas and underlying causes.

Any Title I school in which any group of students fails to meet the AYP goal must be identified as in need of improvement, and all such schools that are identified are subject to the timeline for improvement required under Section 1116. Regardless of the degree to which a school is not making AYP, an LEA must take actions to address the needs of all the school's students and improve achievement, provide public school choice for all students in any school that is identified for improvement, and provide supplemental educational services for eligible students in schools that continue to not make AYP, as required under Section 1116.

G-12. NCLB states that small, rural school districts may contact the Secretary of Education for assistance in restructuring. What assistance will the Department provide for such requests?

The Department has arranged for 21 comprehensive technical assistance centers (16 regional centers and five content centers) to provide technical assistance to small, rural school districts that request assistance from the Department in restructuring the schools that they serve. The new Regional Centers provide frontline assistance to States to help them implement the ESEA and other related Federal school improvement programs and help increase State capacity to assist districts and schools meet their student achievement goals. In addition, the Department funds five Content Centers (Center on Assessment and Accountability, Center on Instruction, Center on Teacher Quality, Center on Innovation and Improvement, and Center on High Schools) that will supply much of the common research-based information, products, guidance, analyses, and knowledge on certain key NCLB topics that the Regional Centers will use when working with States. Information about the comprehensive centers is available at http://www.ed.gov/programs/newccp/awards.html.

Further, a school district that meets the statutory requirements (a district that has an average daily attendance of fewer than 600 students and serves only schools with a National Center for Education Statistics locale code of 7 or 8) may participate in the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP). Under REAP, these districts receive additional flexibility (REAP-Flex) in the use of formula funds they receive under the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, Educational Technology State Grants, State Grants for Innovative Programs, and Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities State Grants programs. Under the REAP-Flex authority, an eligible school district may consolidate and use the funds from the programs mentioned above to carry out activities authorized under Part A of Title I, including school restructuring activities. In addition, rural school districts eligible to use REAP-Flex generally receive a formula allocation under the Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) program. An eligible school district could use its award under the SRSA program to support school restructuring activities.

G-13. Must an LEA continue to provide technical assistance to a school in year one of restructuring?

The purpose of the restructuring provisions under section 1116(b)(8) is to require an LEA to take strong actions to improve schools that have not made AYP for a number of years. Because the LEA has direct oversight and involvement in the restructuring process, it should provide a school being restructured with ongoing assistance that addresses the identified needs of the school's students and prepares the school and community to implement the restructuring options the LEA has selected to improve the educational opportunities for students. Thus, technical assistance from the LEA is imperative and implicit in the concept of restructuring, even though it is not explicitly required under the statute. The technical assistance provided to a school being restructured should focus on helping the school make substantive and significant changes in its approaches to teaching and learning by emphasizing the use of student achievement data and research to inform instructional strategies. Additionally, the assistance should help the school with budget allocation, professional development for principals and teachers, and other strategies necessary to ensure the restructuring plan is implemented and sustained in the future.

G-14. What effect do the school restructuring requirements have on an LEA's collective bargaining agreements?

Section 1116(d) provides that none of the provisions for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring for failure to make AYP may reduce the rights or remedies of employees under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. That section specifically reads as follows:

(d) CONSTRUCTION - Nothing in this section [Title I, Academic Assessment and Local Educational Agency and School Improvement] shall be construed to alter or otherwise affect the rights, remedies, and procedures afforded school or school district employees under Federal, State, or local laws (including applicable regulations or court orders) or under the terms of collective bargaining agreements, memoranda of understanding, or other agreements between such employees and their employers.

The provision must be implemented in concert with the purpose of Title I, which is quite clear: "to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and State academic assessments." [Section 6301]. The statement of purpose further declares that this purpose can be accomplished, in part, by "significantly elevating the quality of instruction" and by "holding schools, local educational agencies, and States accountable for improving the academic achievement of all students, and identifying and turning around low-performing schools that have failed to provide a high-quality education to their students, while providing alternatives to students in such school to enable the students to receive a high-quality education." [Section 6301(10)(4)].

Therefore, an LEA that accepts funds under Title I of the ESEA must comply with all statutory requirements, notwithstanding any terms and conditions of its collective bargaining agreements. Although section 1116(d) does not invalidate employee protections that exist under labor law or under collective bargaining and similar labor agreements, it does not exempt SEAs, LEAs, and schools from compliance with Title I, Part A. It is the Department's view that such agreements should not exempt school officials from any obligations related to the purpose of Title I, or the school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring requirements in section 1116.

State and LEA authorities, as well as State legislatures and local governing boards, need to ensure that changes in State and local laws are consistent with Title I requirements and that any changes to collective bargaining agreements or new agreements are also consistent with Title I.

G-15. In light of collective bargaining agreements and employee protections, what are suggested alternatives to replacing staff that may be contributing to the school being identified for restructuring?

Replacing all or most of the school staff is only one of several restructuring options available to an LEA, and there is a great deal of flexibility in how to implement this option. For example, in carrying out a restructuring plan, some LEAs, in conjunction with putting a new principal in place, require all staff to reapply for their positions and to be part of the restructuring process, or to apply for a position in another school in the district. In other districts, LEA staff and unions have worked together to include provisions in their contracts to compensate teachers for working longer school days and longer school years as part of a restructuring arrangement.

An LEA may also use Title I, Part A and Title II, Part A funds to provide financial incentives and rewards to teachers in schools in restructuring status. An LEA may provide, where appropriate under section 1113(c)(4) of the Title I statute, not more than five percent of its Part A allocation for financial incentives and rewards to teachers who serve students in Title I schools identified for school improvement, corrective action, and restructuring, for the purpose of attracting and retaining qualified and effective teachers.

An LEA may use Title II, Part A funds to develop and implement strategies and activities to recruit, hire, and retain highly qualified teachers and principals. These strategies may include (a) providing monetary incentives such as scholarships, signing bonuses, or differential pay for teachers in academic subjects or schools in which the LEA has shortages; (b) reducing class size;

(c) recruiting teachers to teach special needs children, including students with disabilities; and (d) recruiting qualified paraprofessionals and teachers from populations underrepresented in the teaching profession, and providing those paraprofessionals with alternate routes to obtaining teacher certification. (See Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, ESEA Title II, Part A, Non-Regulatory Guidance, August 3, 2005)

G-16. How does a school that is planning for restructuring or implementing a restructuring action exit restructuring status?

Under 34 C.F.R. 200.43(c)(2), a school that is in restructuring status (e.g. during the 2006-07 school year) and makes AYP for two consecutive years (e.g. based on achievement data for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years) may exit that status. This is the same rule that applies to Title I schools at any stage of the school improvement process.

The exception to this rule would be, as a result of restructuring, a school is significantly reconfigured to serve different students and different grades, and accordingly meets the State's definition of a "new school." This new school may be treated like any other new school in the State. Depending on the State's operational rules, this may mean removing the school from restructuring status and starting over on the school improvement timeline. (See also G-9.)

H. SCHOOL RESTRUCTURING - YEAR TWO (PLAN IMPLEMENTATION)

H-1. What causes a school to enter year two of restructuring?

If a school identified for restructuring does not meet AYP during the planning year, the school must be identified for year two of restructuring. During year two, the LEA must implement the restructuring plan it has created for the school.

School Year

School makes AYP (Y/N)

By end of 2001-02

N

By end of 2002-03

N

Beginning of 2003-04

Year 1, school improvement

By end of 2003-04

N

Beginning of 2004-05

Year 2, school improvement

By end of 2004-05

N

Beginning of 2005-06

Corrective action

By end of 2005-06

N

Beginning of 2006-07

Year 1 restructuring (planning)

By end of 2006-07

N

Beginning of 2007-08

Year 2 restructuring

H-2. What action must the LEA take when one of its schools is identified for year two of restructuring?

If, after being identified for restructuring for one school year and continuing to receive technical assistance, a school still does not make AYP, the LEA must implement the restructuring plan no later than the beginning of the school year following the year in which the school was in the first year of restructuring. For example, if the school is in year one of restructuring during the 2006-07 school year and does not make AYP, the implementation of the restructuring plan must take place during the 2007-08 school year. 200.33(a)

During the implementation of the plan, the LEA must also -

  • Continue to provide all students with the option to transfer to another school in the LEA that is not identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring; and
  • Continue to make supplemental educational services available to eligible students. 200.43(b)(1), (2), and (3)

H-3. What notification requirements apply when a school is identified for year two of restructuring?

Additional notification required for parents is similar to the notice required when a school enters corrective action or year one of restructuring. The LEA must notify the parents of all children enrolled in the school and explain -

  • What the identification means, and how academic achievement levels at the school compare to those at other schools in the LEA and in the SEA;
  • Why the school has been identified and actions taken by the school and the LEA to address the problems that led to the school's identification;
  • How parents can become involved in addressing the academic issues that led to the identification and a description of the parental involvement opportunities available to parents;
  • Options available to parents to transfer their child to another public school in the LEA that is not identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring; and
  • The supplemental educational services that are available to eligible children. (See also E-3 and G-4) 200.37; 200.38; 200.43

H-4. What technical assistance must the LEA provide, or provide for, while the school is in year two of restructuring?

Because the restructuring options under NCLB are designed to change schools significantly, implementation is complex. All require adjustments to schools' financial operations, and some may require additional resources, particularly if the school must train staff to work together in new ways.

During year two of restructuring, while the LEA's plan is being implemented, the LEA should continue to provide the school with quality technical support and assistance that address the complexities of implementation. This assistance will be especially valuable in helping the school staff to remain focused on increasing student achievement while the school is adjusting to potentially radical alterations to its administrative and governance structures.

H-5. Must a school identified for restructuring spend not less than 10 percent of its allocation of Title I, Part A funds for professional development?

No. Section 1116(b)(3)(A)(iii) of the ESEA only requires a school identified for improvement to spend not less than 10 percent of its allocation of Title I, Part A funds for high-quality professional development for each fiscal year that the school is in improvement. The statute does not require a school identified for corrective action or restructuring to spend not less than 10 percent of its Title I, Part A funds for professional development. However, because professional development is another critical linchpin in the restructuring process, the LEA and school planners should consider how Title I funds, along with other Federal, State, and/or local resources, can be used to support high-quality professional development that is directly connected to the reform efforts identified in the school's restructuring plan. As such, because it is permissible under ESEA for a school identified for restructuring to use part of its allocation of Title I, Part A funds for high-quality professional development, schools should be encouraged to do so.

H-6. If a school completes two years of restructuring, what is its status relative to the school improvement timeline?

A school that undergoes the restructuring process for two years (one year of planning and one year of implementation) continues to be accountable for the academic achievement of its students. Although it might have a changed curriculum, different staff, and/or a radically different governance structure, the restructured school must continue to offer choice and supplemental services until it makes AYP for two consecutive years.

The exception to this rule would be, as a result of restructuring, a school is significantly reconfigured to serve different students and different grades, and accordingly meets the State's definition of a "new school." This new school may be treated like any other new school in the State. Depending on the State's operational rules, this may mean removing the school from restructuring status and starting over on the school improvement timeline. (See also G-9.)

School Year

School makes AYP (Y/N)

By end of 2001-02

N

By end of 2002-03

N

Beginning of 2003-04

Year 1, school improvement

By end of 2003-04

N

Beginning of 2004-05

Year 2, school improvement

By end of 2004-05

N

Beginning of 2005-06

corrective action

By end of 2005-06

N

Beginning of 2006-07

Year 1 restructuring (planning)

By end of 2006-07

N

Beginning of 2007-08

Year 2 restructuring

By end of 2007-08

Y

Beginning of 2008-09

Year 3 restructuring

By end of 2008-09

Y

Beginning of 2009-10

No longer in restructuring

H-7. What are the expectations after a school has been restructured?

Because restructuring is only one part of an integrated improvement process, best practices suggest that LEA and school planners should rigorously monitor the implementation and effectiveness of all the school's improvement activities and make changes as needed to ensure that the strategies are contributing to the desired outcome of improved and sustained student achievement. Schools that have been restructured must continue to offer choice and supplemental educational services until they exit restructuring status. (See also G-5.) Further, the LEA should continue to provide technical assistance to the school to ensure that the necessary support is available to increase the potential for sustained improvement and success.

H-8. Does the LEA or school need to submit some type of report or a plan to the SEA describing how the school has been restructured?

Under the statute, LEAs are responsible for implementing an alternative governance arrangement and therefore, are the first line in the decision-making process. The ESEA does not require the LEA or a school to submit to the SEA a restructuring plan or a report describing the alternative governance arrangements the LEA is implementing in a school identified for restructuring. However, the SEA, under its general authority to ensure that Title I of the ESEA is implemented according to the statute, has significant authority to ensure that alternative governance arrangements are implemented in ways that are most likely to get good results. Under this general authority, the SEA may choose to have more significant involvement in district decision-making, such as by collecting and reviewing plans or participating in plan development, modification, and monitoring.

Under specific circumstances, the SEA must intervene and take appropriate actions to carry out its responsibilities under section 1116(b)(14) of the ESEA. For example, should the SEA determine that the LEA failed to develop and implement a plan for a school identified for restructuring, as a corrective action the SEA could require the LEA to develop and submit the plan and related progress reports to the State for review and approval. (See also H-10.)

The SEA must also ensure that the LEA is implementing a restructuring plan that contains fundamental reforms that have substantial promise to improve student academic achievement and enable a school to make AYP.

H-9. Are SEAs expected to monitor restructured schools through the State's compliance monitoring process?

Yes. Section 9304(a)(1) of the ESEA requires that an SEA assure, as a part of its consolidated State application, that each program will be administered in accordance with all applicable statutes, regulations, program plans, and applications. Section 9304(a)(3)(B) further states that States will adopt and use proper methods of administering such programs, including the correction of deficiencies in program operations that are identified through audits, monitoring, or evaluation.

Section 80.40 of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) states that grantees are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of grants and of subgrant-supported activities. Grantees must monitor grants and subgrant-supported activities to ensure compliance with applicable Federal requirements and that performance goals are being achieved.

While the statute does not specifically identify the components of a monitoring system, including the methods to be used in conducting monitoring, the Department's expectation is that the most critical elements of the Title I program will be monitored. Since schools in restructuring are the schools in greatest need in an LEA, the SEA is expected to include a review of these schools in its monitoring process to help ensure that these schools make substantial progress in meeting NCLB accountability requirements.

H-10. Are there consequences if an LEA does not undertake required planning for schools in Restructuring Year 1 or implementing restructuring plans for schools in Restructuring Year 2?

Any Title I school in which any group of students fails to meet the AYP goal must be identified as in need of improvement, and all such schools that are identified are subject to the timeline for improvement, corrective action, and restructuring as required under Section 1116. Regardless of the degree to which a school is not making AYP, an LEA must take actions to address the needs of the school and improve student achievement. The statute stipulates specific actions an LEA must take when it identifies a school for restructuring. (See also H-1 and G-5.)

States are responsible for ensuring that LEAs with schools subject to restructuring begin planning for restructuring and implement their restructuring plan according to the timeline in the statue. Section 1116(b)(14)(B) of the ESEA specifies that if the SEA determines that an LEA fails to carry out its responsibilities under the statue, such as not beginning to plan or implementing its restructuring plan according to the required timeline, the SEA must intervene and take appropriate actions to correct the situation, in compliance with State law. As such, States have a wide range of tools to enforce the statute, including (1) the assignment of a State support team to the school, (2) collecting and reviewing plans and progress reports, and (3) withholding of funds.

H-11. What information and resources are available to help district and State leaders choose the best restructuring option for each school? Where can LEAs and schools access information about school restructuring?

States, LEAs, and schools may wish to consult the following resources sponsored by the Department to seek information and materials about school improvement interventions and the effectiveness of particular improvement strategies or designs. The examples provided should not be viewed as the "only" or the "best" resources available. They are provided to help SEAs, LEAs, and schools consider the range of options available and to stimulate thinking about school restructuring in the context of creating high-performing schools.

(http://www.centerforcsri.org/) houses an online research center that includes a database of useful articles and research reports on whole-school reform and improvement, and provides access to information about reform models, technical assistance providers, and program evaluation. The Center, in conjunction with the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, has developed a series white papers identifying best research practices about the NCLB restructuring options. These resources, School Restructuring Options Under No Child Left Behind - What Works When, are available as follows:

Reopening as a Charter School

(http://www.centerforcsri.org/pubs/restructuring/KnowledgeIssues2Chartering.pdf)

Turnarounds with New Leaders and Staff

(http://www.centerforcsri.org/pubs/restructuring/KnowledgeIssues4Turnaround.pdf)

Contracting with External Providers

(http://www.centerforcsri.org/pubs/restructuring/KnowledgeIssues3Contracting.pdf)

State Takeovers

(http://www.centerforcsri.org/pubs/restructuring/KnowledgeIssues1StateTakeovers.pdf)

  • The Department has arranged for 21 comprehensive technical assistance centers (16 regional centers and five content centers) to provide technical assistance to States in their work with LEAs and schools to close achievement gaps in core content areas and raise student achievement in schools. The 16 Regional Centers provide frontline assistance to States to help them implement the ESEA and other related Federal school improvement programs and help increase State capacity to assist districts and schools meet their student achievement goals. In addition, the Department funds five Content Centers (Center on Assessment and Accountability, Center on Instruction, Center on Teacher Quality, Center on Innovation and Improvement, and Center on High Schools) that will supply much of the common research-based information, products, guidance, analyses, and knowledge on certain key NCLB topics that Regional Centers will use when working with States.

The Center on Innovation and Improvement, for example, will gather data and other information on districts and schools that are making sustained gains to identify the strategies that are proving to be successful in improvement efforts. Information about the comprehensive centers program is available at

http://www.ed.gov/programs/newccp/awards.html.

  • The Department's Office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students (OELA) provides national leadership in promoting high-quality education for the nation's population of limited English proficient students. OELA funds a National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA) that provides resources about various elements of school reform in programs designed to assist language minority students. These include an emphasis on high academic standards, school accountability, professional development, family literacy, early reading, and partnerships between parents and the communities. For more information visit http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/oela/.
  • The Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers supports a unified technical assistance system for the purpose of developing, assisting and coordinating Parent Training and Information Projects and Community Parent Resource Centers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This project is funded by the Department's Office of Special Education Programs and consists of one national center and six regional centers. The project is funded to strengthen the connections to the larger technical assistance network and fortify partnerships between parent centers and State education systems at the regional and national levels. The website has a link to scientifically based research resources. For more information visit http://www.taaliance.org/.
  • The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) (http://www.whatworks.ed.gov)

provides access to comprehensive reports reviewing evidence of effectiveness of educational interventions. The WWC collects, screens, and identifies studies of the effectiveness of educational interventions (programs, products, practices, and policies).

Source:
U.S. Department of Education, LEA and School Improvement Non-Regulatory Guidance, July 21, 2006



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