May 18, 2007
The Honorable Judy Jeffrey
Director of Education
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
East 14th & Grand Streets
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146
Dear Director Jeffrey:
I am writing in response to Iowa'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 changes are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Iowa submitted to the Department on May 4, 2007. I am pleased to fully approve Iowa's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the Iowa accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I.
Please also be aware that approval of Iowa's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved above, 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 Iowa 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 Jeff Johnson (Jeff.Johnson@ed.gov) or Zollie Stevenson (Zollie.Stevenson@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Secretary
cc: Governor Chet Culver
Amendments to the Iowa 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 the complete Iowa accountability plan.
Identification and criteria for new schools (Element 4.1)
Revision: Iowa clarified that a school is considered a "new" school if there is an increase or decrease in the enrollment (due to realignment of grade structures) of at least 50 percent compared to the previous year. In such situations, the timeline for being identified as in need of improvement will start over.
In the event of mergers of schools containing the same grades, Iowa will consider the adequate yearly progress (AYP) history of the buildings merging:
- If the receiving site has a majority of students, and the site was previously identified as missing AYP, that status will continue, regardless of the status of the sending site.
- If the sending site has a majority of students, and that site was previously identified as missing AYP, that status will continue, regardless of the current status of the receiving site.
- If a new physical facility is opened, the AYP status of that site will be that of the sending site with the majority of students.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (Element 5.3)
Revision: Iowa will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the interim flexibility regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/070207.html). Iowa will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For this year only, this proxy will then be added to the percentage of students with disabilities who are proficient. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, Iowa will use this adjusted percentage proficient to re-examine if the school or district made AYP for the 2006-07 school year.
Counting students no longer receiving services in the students with disabilities group (Element 5.3)
Revision: When calculating the percentage of students proficient to determine AYP for the students with disabilities group, Iowa will include the scores of students who previously received services within the prior two years, pursuant to the regulations issued by the Department on April 9, 2007.