January 18, 2006
Dr. Meria Carstarphen
Chief Accountability Officer
District of Columbia Public Schools
825 North Capitol Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002-4232
Dear Dr. Carstarphen:
I am writing in response to the District of Columbia's (DCPS) request to amend its State accountability plan. Thank you for the opportunity to review the proposed amendments to your plan. The information in this letter presents feedback from Department staff and reflects the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and final U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulations.
We have reviewed your request to amend DCPS's accountability plan that was approved with conditions on June 3, 2003, and found the following amendment acceptable:
Delay in making adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations: As a result of the implementation of a new assessment system in the spring of 2006 and the revision of standards in the summer of 2006, DCPS will need time to conduct the required standard setting procedures. It is anticipated that the new performance levels will be presented to the State Board of Education in early fall with AYP determinations to be made no later than October 31, 2006.
Schools that are currently identified as in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring will continue in the same category until the data become available, but no later than October 31, 2006. In these cases, the regulations concerning parents' rights to transfer their child to a school not in need of improvement and to receive supplemental educational services will continue to apply. If a school did not achieve AYP for the first time in 2004-2005, the status of the school will be determined when the data become available, but no later than October 31, 2006. For example, if such a school does not achieve AYP for school year 2005-2006 (when the results become available), the school will be immediately classified as in need of improvement and required to implement the provisions of Section 1116 of ESEA, including parental notification. If a school is currently classified as in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring but achieved AYP in 2004-2005 and again achieves AYP in 2005-2006 (when the data become available), they will be immediately reclassified as not being "in need of improvement" as prescribed by NCLB. Again, parents will be notified of the change in status. In short, in all cases, all public schools in the District of Columbia will continue to be identified for improvement and required to implement interventions consistent with Section 1116 of ESEA. However, for 2006-2007 AYP determinations will be delayed until the results become available, but no later than October 31, 2006.
The requested change should be incorporated in the amended State accountability plan that DC is required to submit to the Department no later than March 1, 2006. Please make this acceptable change to your accountability workbook and note on the cover page the date submitted and the elements amended. Upon our satisfactory review of the workbook, the amended plan will be approved and posted to the Department's website.
I am confident that the District of Columbia will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in your efforts to implement the standards, assessments and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Catherine Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sue Rigney (email@example.com) of my staff. We hope this information will be useful to DCPS as it refines its accountability system to ensure that no child is left behind.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Mayor Anthony Williams