August 17, 2004
Honorable Nicholas C. Donohue
Commissioner of Education
New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Dear Commissioner Donohue:
I am writing in response to New Hampshire's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, those changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that New Hampshire submitted to the Department on August 11, 2004. A list of the changes is enclosed with this letter.
Additionally, based on information you have provided us, regarding the actions taken by the New Hampshire Department of Education to finalize certain elements in the accountability plan required under NCLB, New Hampshire has met the conditions of approval that were detailed in Eugene W. Hickok's June 25, 2003 letter to New Hampshire. I am pleased to fully approve New Hampshire's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, New Hampshire makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, New Hampshire must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Approval of New Hampshire's accountability plan is not also an approval of New Hampshire's standards and assessment system. As New Hampshire makes changes in its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, New Hampshire must submit information about those changes to the Department for peer review through the standards and assessment process.
Please also be aware that approval of New Hampshire'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 hope that you have found the accountability plan amendment process effective for implementing a State accountability system that best serves the needs of New Hampshire's students and schools and that will lead to improving the academic achievement of all students.
If, as you implement your accountability plan, you find additional elements of your plan that you believe should be refined or amended for next school year to best serve the needs of your students and schools, I encourage you to explore all the areas of flexibility available to your State.
I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If I can be of any additional assistance to New Hampshire in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
cc: Governor Craig Benson
Amendment to the New Hampshire Accountability Plan
This statement is a summary of the amendment. For complete details, please refer to the New Hampshire Accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
Identification of districts for improvement
Revision: New Hampshire will identify districts for improvement only when they do not make AYP in the same subject and both grade spans (i.e., elementary/middle and high schools) for two consecutive years. In implementing this provision, States should 1) monitor districts that have not made AYP in one grade span but have not been identified for improvement to ensure they are making the necessary curricular and instructional changes to improve achievement, and 2) take steps to ensure supplemental services are available to eligible students from a variety of providers throughout the State (including in LEAs that have not been identified for improvement but that have schools that have been in improvement for more than one year).