May 9, 2005
The Honorable David Stewart
State Superintendent of Schools
West Virginia Department of Education
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Building 6, Room B-358
Charleston, WV 25305-0330
Dear Superintendent Stewart:
I am writing in response to West Virginia'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 change you requested is aligned with NCLB and is now included in an amended State accountability plan that West Virginia submitted to the Department on April 12, 2005. The change is listed in an attachment to this letter.
I would also like to inform you that I have determined that West Virginia has met all of its conditions for approval of its accountability plan that were detailed in Eugene Hickok's letter of May 7, 2003. The determination is based on the clarifications you provided in your letter of April 24, 2005, and in the final amended West Virginia Accountability Workbook which indicates that the West Virginia State Board of Education has approved regulatory policies addressing (1) procedures for including all schools in the accountability system and holding them accountable using the same criteria, (2) provision of AYP determinations and decisions about school and district identification for improvement before the beginning of the next school year, (3) state repot cards that include all the required data elements, (4) a system of rewards and sanctions, (5) policies for including all students in the accountability system and defining full academic year, (6) AYP definition, including starting point, intermediate goals, and annual measurable objectives, (7) annual decisions about AYP, as well as separate decisions about reading/language arts and mathematics, (8) subgroup accountability, including procedures for including students with disabilities and LEP students, and minimum group size, (9) the definition of graduation rate and other academic indicator and their use in AYP decisions for schools and districts, (10) methods for ensuring the accountability system is valid and reliable, and (11) calculation of the participation rate and inclusion of that information in the AYP definition. I appreciate the efforts West Virginia 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 West Virginia's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, West Virginia makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, West Virginia 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 West Virginia's accountability plan is not also an approval of West Virginia's standards and assessment system. As West Virginia makes changes in its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, West Virginia 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 West Virginia'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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
cc: Governor Joe Manchin III
Amendment to the West Virginia Accountability Plan
This statement is a summary of the amendment. For complete details, please refer to the West Virginia Accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
Alternate achievement standards (Element 5.3)
Revision: West Virginia will change the word "extended" to "alternate" in reference to academic achievement standards.