April 6, 2009
The Honorable Lyonel Tracy
Commissioner of Education
New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Dear Commissioner Tracy:
On behalf of Secretary Duncan, I want to thank you for your hard work in implementing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). As you may know, the Secretary will be traveling the country and listening to states, districts, and other stakeholders talk about the ways in which the ESEA can be improved. These conversations will inform the next reauthorization of the statute. In the meantime, we will push towards our reform goals under the authority of, and in accordance with, the existing statute and regulations.
Specifically, I am writing in response to New Hampshire’s request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the ESEA. Following discussions between the Department and your staff, you made certain changes to New Hampshire's accountability plan, which are now included in the amended state accountability plan that New Hampshire submitted to the Department on March 24, 2009. I am pleased to approve New Hampshire’s amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of New Hampshire's requested amendments are enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend New Hampshire’s accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of New Hampshire's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, 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 New Hampshire 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 the ESEA, please do not hesitate to contact Vicki Robinson (Vicki. Robinson@ed.gov) or (Sue.Rigney@ed.gov) of my staff.
Joseph C. Conaty
cc: Governor John Lynch
Amendments to New Hampshire's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of New Hampshire's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website (http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for New Hampshire's complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations:
Calculating Safe Harbor (Element 3.2
Revision: New Hampshire will discontinue its use of the equi-percentile method for grade 11 safe harbor calculations when determining adequate yearly progress (AYP) for its schools and districts, which was used only for the 2007-08 school year as the state transitioned to its new high school assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics (the NECAP). In 2008-09, the state will resume its previous calculation for safe harbor as defined in its accountability workbook and consistent with the calculation used for grades 3-8. If any group of students in a school or district does not meet the annual measurable objectives, the school (or district) makes AYP if: (1) the group has a 95 percent participation rate, (2) the percentage of proficient students increased and there was a decrease of at least 10 percent from the previous year when subtracting the group’s performance index score from 100, and (3) that group made progress on the other academic indicator.
Participation rate (Element 10.1
Revision: New Hampshire has included two appendices to its workbook that detail the participation guidelines for including all students in New Hampshire in the state accountability system.