July 15, 2008
The Honorable Mark K. McQuillan
Connecticut State Department of Education
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06145
Dear Commissioner McQuillan:
I am writing in response to Connecticut's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the approved changes are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Connecticut submitted to the Department on May 28, 2008, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the amendments submitted for the 2007-08 school year is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Connecticut's accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of Connecticut's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, does not indicate that the plan complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
I am confident that Connecticut will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Morffi (Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Clayton Hollingshead (Clayton.email@example.com) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor M. Jodi Rell
Amendments to Connecticut's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the state's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for Connecticut's complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
New school definition (Element 1.6)
Revision: Connecticut establishes its criteria for when a school is "new" for accountability purposes to include:
- Significant changes in the student population served by a school that are not attributed to attrition and/or mobility, such as a-- change in student population of 50 percent or more, either an increase or decrease.
- A significant reconfiguration of grade spans that results in a change of student population of 50 percent or more. A minor change in grade spans, such as a reconfiguration from K-5 to PK-6, is not sufficient for a school to be classified as a new school.
All requests to become a new school will be approved by a Connecticut State Department of Education committee, which includes legal, data, and school improvement staff.
Including students with disabilities (Element 5.3)
Revision: Connecticut will include in the students with disabilities subgroup for AYP determinations a student who is no longer receiving special education services but who had been previously identified as a student with disabilities during the past two years.
Including limited English proficient (LEP) students (Element 5.4)
Revision: Connecticut defines an English language learner (ELL) student as one who is enrolled in a public school, grades kindergarten through twelve whose dominant language is one other than English and whose proficiency in English is not sufficient to assure equal educational opportunities in the regular school program. Connecticut uses the following three-step process to help LEAs determine whether a student is an ELL student: 1. Administer a three-question survey; 2. Use a dual language test or an observation procedure to determine the student's dominant language; and 3. Determine limited English language proficiency based on three indicators:
- a standardized English proficiency test;
- an oral interview conducted in English; and
- an examination of other indicators, such as report cards and test scores, that demonstrate whether achievement in academic subjects taught in English is below average.
Connecticut also establishes the following criteria for ELL students to exit the subgroup:
- Score at the highest level on the LAS Links English proficiency assessment; and
- Meet or exceed the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) "proficient" level for reading and mathematics; and
- Meet the "basic" level on the CMT for writing.