August 8, 2006
Dr. Douglas Christensen
Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Hall, South, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987
Dear Commissioner Christensen:
I am writing in response to Nebraska'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 that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Nebraska submitted to the Department on August 5, 2006. A summary of the approved amendments is attached to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve Nebraska's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
As you know, if Nebraska makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Nebraska must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please know that approval of Nebraska's accountability plan is not an approval of Nebraska's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of Nebraska'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 Nebraska will continue 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 implementing the standards, assessments and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Abigail Potts (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Zollie Stevenson (email@example.com) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Dave Heineman
Amendments to Nebraska's Accountability Plan
This is a summary of the State's approved amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Nebraska accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html
Timely Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Decisions (Element 1.4)
Revision: Nebraska has revised its timeline for making AYP determinations starting with the 2005-06 school year. Nebraska will make available preliminary AYP decisions, including whether a school or district has been identified for improvement, to districts on August 1. During the 10 days after August 1, a school or district may review all data submitted and its AYP status decision. Districts will have 30 days from August 1 to submit appeals from schools to the State.
Annual Determination of AYP (Element 4.1)
Revision: Based upon upcoming district consolidations, Nebraska will define a new district as one created from elementary-only and secondary-only districts. A school would be considered a new school if the grade configuration changes by two or more grade levels and the enrollment of the building increases or decreases by at least 60 percent from the previous year.
Changes in Assessment System (Element 9.3)
Revision: Nebraska has revised this section of its accountability workbook to include an updated timeline for the implementation of a longitudinal student data system.