The NCLB Game: If You Don't Make 'Average Yearly Progress'
Under the 4-year-old federal No Child Left Behind act, a school that does not make "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) in the same area reading or math test scores, graduation rate, and/or attendance for two consecutive years goes into a process called school improvement.
Every year that schools don't meet AYP targets, they move to the next, more dramatic stage. It also becomes harder to meet AYP targets each year; the targets increase about 5% a year, with the goal of 100% of students performing on grade level by 2014.
Five schools in Austin Reagan, William B. Travis, Lanier, and Johnston high schools, and Porter Middle are in Stage Two; Dobie Middle is in Stage One. The first Austin schools could reach Stage Five by 2008.
Stage One Develop a campus improvement plan with measurable goals for improving the curriculum, offering professional development and technical assistance, and boosting parental involvement.
Offer every student the chance to transfer to a school that is meeting AYP
Everything in Stage One, plus:
Offer Supplemental Educational Services i.e., tutoring offered by nondistrict vendors to low-income students (but not to higher-income students at the same school)
Everything in the previous stages, plus at least one of the following:
Replace staff who are relevant to the failure to make AYP
Institute a new curriculum
Provide professional development
Decrease campus-level management authority
Appoint an outside expert to beef up the campus improvement plan
Extend the school day or year
Restructure the school's organizational structure
Everything in the previous stages, plus making plans for an "alternative governance" arrangement, which could be:
Reopening as a charter school
Replacing school staff relevant to the failure to make AYP
Entering into contract with an entity, such as a private management company
Turning over operation of the school to the TEA
Any other major restructuring that has substantial promise of enabling the school to make AYP
Everything in the previous stages, plus
Implement the alternative governance plan