October 7, 2005
Dr. Keith W. Rheault
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Nevada Department of Education
700 East 5th Street
Carson City, NV 89701-5096
Dear Superintendent Rheault:
I am writing in response to Nevada'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). The changes you requested are aligned with NCLB and are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Nevada submitted to the Department on September 23, 2005.
In a letter dated July 1, 2003, Eugene Hickok documented several aspects of Nevada's plan for which final action was still needed. These actions included: final regulations to determine how adequate yearly progress would be implemented in the states accountability plan; information on the impact and implications of using a 75% confidence interval for safe harbor calculations; submittal of baseline data and annual targets for high school accountability decisions; and submittal of graduation rate baseline and annual targets. We have received sufficient information from Nevada on the above conditions. As a result, we are now removing this condition from Nevada's 2004 grant award. I appreciate the efforts Nevada has made to remove the conditions on its accountability plan and ensure its ability to hold all schools accountable for the academic success of all students. I am pleased to fully approve Nevada's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, Nevada makes additional changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Nevada must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Nevada's accountability plan is not also an approval of Nevada's standards and assessment system. As Nevada makes changes in its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, Nevada 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 Nevada'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 Nevada 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 I can be of any additional assistance to Nevada in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Kenny Guinn
Amendments to the Nevada Accountability Plan
This attachment is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Nevada accountability plan on the Department's website: http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
Accountability for Charter Schools (Element 1.1)
Revision: Clarify that districts will include in their adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations the assessment and accountability results from students enrolled in district-sponsored charter schools, given the students meet full academic year requirements.
District identification (Element 3.2)
Revision: Districts will be identified for improvement only when they do not make AYP in the same subject or additional indicator and in all three 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 districts that have not been identified for improvement but that have schools that have been in improvement for more than one year).
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (Element 5.3)
Revision: Nevada will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in ED's guidance dated May 7, 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's flexibility regarding calculating AYP for students with disabilities. Nevada 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 percent 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, Nevada will use this adjusted percent proficient to reexamine if the school or district made AYP for the 2004-05 school year.