NCLB Public School Choice
Consequences of Failure to Make AYP: Schools serving students with Title I, Part A Funds Two years:designated as a “school in need of improvement;” parents offered public school choice Three years: “school in need of improvement” status continues; parents’ options include supplemental services (SES) or public school choice
School Designations In accordance with Title I Federal regulations, a school is identified for “school improvement” when it fails to make AYP for two consecutive years. It remains in improvement, continues into “corrective action,” and then “restructuring” status, until it makes AYP for two consecutive years.
Two or more consecutive years “in need of improvement”Choice - vs. - SES Eligible students may receive Choice OR Supplemental Educational Services But Not Both
What can LEAs do prior to assessment results? • Review your current Choice options for students and determine if additional options are necessary to fulfill NCLB requirements • Begin work on a student prioritization plan • Begin work on a communications plan • Begin work on a transportation plan • Define Options
Current Choice Plan Modification “An LEA may choose to introduce or expand programs that allow open enrollment, which may then be modified to accommodate students who will be eligible to transfer if their school is identified for improvement.” USDOE Non-Regulatory Guidance – Draft February 6, 2004
Current Choice in Florida In education, Florida has a history of breaking the mold and doing what’s right for our students and their families. Districts in Florida, through controlled choice, voluntary choice and targeted student choice programs; lead the nation in providing families quality choice options.
Review Current Choice Plan Carefully review your LEA’s choice plan, and, in particular, its provision for meeting the needs of the lowest achieving children from low-income families and that these families have been informed of and given priority to take advantage of genuine school choice options.
Review Current Choice Plan Federal Desegregation If an LEA is subject to a desegregation plan, whether that plan is voluntary, court-ordered, or required by a Federal agency, the school district is not exempt from offering students the option to transfer. The school district may take into account the requirements of the plan in determining how to implement the choice option.
Review Current Choice Options Offered to Priority Students • Controlled Open Enrollment • Voluntary Choice Programs • Magnet schools, alternative schools, special programs, advanced placement, dual enrollment • Charter Schools
Review Current Choice Options Offered to Priority Students • Charter Technical Career Centers • Florida Virtual School • Opportunity Scholarship Program • John M. McKay Scholarships • Corporate Scholarships • Private Tutoring
Choice Best Practices Lee: Zoned Choice where each zone offers the same choice programs Okaloosa: A franchise arrangement with Virtual School, thereby providing this option to all students in all schools but priority given to disadvantaged students Flagler: Comprehensive shuttle system, students are transported to home schools and then transfer to a shuttle bus to school of choice Seminole: Expanded transportation services to enable Choice students to participate in before- and after-school programs
Mentor Voluntary Choice LEAs Looking for a Mentee LEA: • Brevard • Duval • Flagler • Hillsborough Working with one of these districts to implement a Voluntary Choice Program includes funding of $50,000
Key Principles for Quality Choice • Choice is an important opportunity for parents and children. • Choice is an important component of the overall LEA educational improvement plan. • An overriding goal is to provide students with access to quality instruction. • Communication with parents is timely and thorough. • Information on choices is provided to parents and students in a format that is easy to understand, and in a language the parent understands. • Real choice means giving parents more than one option from which to choose.
NCLB Choice • Choice for all students attending schools that have been identified as “in need of improvement” • Schools in first year “in need of improvement” status must provide meaningful Choice options • Amount equal to 20% of the LEA’s Title I allocation must be set aside to fulfill this • This includes ALL students *Note: targeted assistance and school wide
NCLB Choice For schools in second year “in need of improvement” status: • Choice with transportation or SES • An amount equal to 20% of LEA’s Title I allocation set aside to fulfill this: 5% SES 5% Transportation 10% one or combination of both • Priority to lowest performing students
What is meaningful choice? • No less than a choice of two schools • LEA may choose to offer school choice with transportation, and additional school choice without transportation – as long as the school choice without transportation does not unfairly exclude the lowest achieving children from low-income families
FLDOE Responsibilities to LEAs The DOE must provide to each LEA in a timely manner: • student assessment results • lists of schools identified as in need of improvement Allowing the LEA, before the new school year: • to identify those schools whose students may transfer; and • to inform parents that they may choose a different school for their child.
LEA Responsibilities • The LEA, not later than the first day of school provides students with the option to transfer to another public school, which may include a public charter school, that has not been identified as “in need of improvement” [Section 1116(b)(1)(E)]. • The LEA shall give priority to the lowest achieving children from low-income families.
FLDOE Responsibilities to USDOE The Florida Department of Education must include, in their annual NCLB Consolidated Report information on : • the number of schools that offer choice under the Title I provision; and • the number of students who exercise the options to change schools [Section 1111(h)(4)(F)].
FLDOE Data Collection The Florida Department of Education will create a new MIS data element to track students that have taken advantage of this choice option. • The data element will be collected each time a student enrolls in a school. • The system will begin in the 2004-2005 school year.
Choice ?s Ask Discuss Share
What does it mean to “give priority to the lowest-achieving children from low-income families”? • In implementing this option to transfer, however, there may be circumstances in which the LEA needs to give priority to the lowest-achieving children from low-income families [Section 1116(b)(1)(E)(ii)]. • The LEA must give ALL students in a school identified as in need of improvement the opportunity to transfer to another public school.
Giving priority to the lowest-achieving children from low-income families • If not all students may attend their first choice of schools, an LEA would give first priority in assigning space to the low-achieving low-income students. • If an LEA does not have sufficient funding to provide transportation to all students who wish to transfer, an LEA would give first priority in assigning space to the low-achieving low-income students.
How does an LEA determine which students are from “low-income families”? The law requires that LEAs make this determination using the same data that they use in allocating Title I funds to schools [Section 1116(e)(12)(A)].
How does an LEA determine which students are “lowest achieving”? LEAs have flexibility in determining which students from low-income families are lowest achieving and thus must be given priority for public school choice. Ideas: • Rank-ordering based on FCAT achievement levels in reading and/or mathematics • FCAT Cut-off scores • Level 1
Student Prioritization When defining your LEA student prioritization plan it is imperative that the priority for Choice opportunity is equal for all students and communities in the LEA.
What about students not yet “enrolled”? Students planning to enter a school for the first time, such as: • entering kindergartners; • students moving from elementary to middle school; or • those who have just moved into the school attendance area should have the same opportunity to exercise choice as students previously enrolled in a school.
Student Prioritization ?s Ask Discuss
Communication to Parents An LEA shall promptly provide to a parent or parents (in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand) of each student enrolled in a school identified for school improvement an explanation including: • what the identification means;
Communication to Parents • the reasons for the identification; • what the school identified is doing to address the problem; • what the LEA is doing to help the school address the achievement problem; • how the parent can become involved in addressing these issues; and • the parent’s option to transfer their child.
Communication to Parents • The LEA should also include an explanation of why the choices made available to parents may have been limited. • Additional information should be presented in an unbiased manner that does not seek to dissuade parents from exercising their opportunity to choose a new school.
Communications to Parents Communications should include multiple delivery systems: • Mailing notices • Newspapers • Posters • Internet • Local television and radio • Community centers and organizations
Communication to Parents • The LEA should work with parents to ensure they have ample information and time to take advantage of the opportunity to choose a different public school or program for their child. • Policies should not impede parents’ opportunities to exercise choice options.
Procedures for enabling parents to communicate their choice • Parents should be able to communicate their choices in a variety of ways: • Standard mail • Email • Fax • Intranet • In person • The LEA should confirm with parents that it has received their communication regarding choice.
Choice Best Communications Practices Leon: Choice Brochures provided to all local day care centers; billboards strategically located in hard to reach neighborhoods Manatee: Partnership with Title I’s Family Involvement Team and bi-lingual staff to assist with communication with parents Palm Beach: Community Volunteers and Business Partners are provided materials and technical assistance concerning choice for use as they work with schools and students
Communication ?s Ask Discuss
School Choice Transportation: LEA Successes Pinellas: implemented a full scale school choice program in 2003-04. There is one countywide choice zone for high schools, three geographic zones for middle school, and four zones for elementary school. Each parent has approximately four school options to choose from within their zone of residence. Miami-Dade: offers all of the legislatively authorized types of choice programs to varying degrees.
Transportation Plan How to Start –What do we already know? LEA transportation and Title I folks work together to determine: • the total of amount of funds set-aside and the fund sources (20% of LEA Title I Allocation) • the location of schools that are probable choice options; and • the location of schools most likely to be “in need of improvement.”
Transportation Plan What do we already know? • Student transportation options • Current transportation routes • Number of students in Title I schools (those currently transported and those not transported previously) • Approximate cost per pupil to be transported certain distances within the LEA • School time schedules
Calculating Per Pupil Cost • Choice: LEA pays for the costs of transportation associated with the provision of choice (up to an amount equal to 20% of the LEA Title I Part Allocation) • SES: LEA pays the lesser of: • actual costs, or • amount of the LEA’s Title I allocation* divided by the number of poverty children (based on the latest census data) *Prior to any reservations (administration, set asides, etc.)
How long must students be allowed to attend the school of their choice? If an eligible student exercises the option to transfer to another public school, and LEA must permit the student to remain in the school until he or she has completed the highest grade in the school. However, the LEA is no longer obligated to provide transportation for the student after the end of the school year in which the home school is no longer identified for school improvement.[34 CF.R. Section 200.44(g)]
School Transportation: Options May an LEA establish transportation zones within an LEA based on the geographic location of schools? Yes, an LEA has latitude in deciding which options to provide for eligible students. • For example, it might establish transportation zones based upon geographic location and fully fund transportation to different schools within a zone. • This option would allow the district to offer more than one choice of school while ensuring that transportation can be reasonably provided or arranged.
School Transportation: Options • Outside the transportation zone, the district could decide to pay for only part of the transportation to the school. • Parents might select a school outside of their designated attendance zone, but they would be informed prior to making this decision that they may be responsible for providing or arranging transportation for their children.
School Transportation: Options • If transportation zones are developed, they should be drawn to provide genuine choice and address only issues of geographic distance. • LEAs should ensure that there is sufficient capacity to accommodate the demand for choice within each zone. • If this cannot be done, students must be given the opportunity to attend schools outside their zone of residence and provided with transportation.