April 13, 2007
The Honorable Roger Sampson
Commissioner of Education
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
801 West Tenth Street, Suite 200
Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894
Dear Commissioner Sampson:
I am writing in response to Alaska'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 change is now included in an amended State accountability plan that Alaska submitted to the Department on March 9, 2007. I am pleased to fully approve Alaska's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendment is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the Alaska accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I.
Please also be aware that approval of Alaska'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 Alaska 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, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Jeff Johnson (Jeff.Johnson@ed.gov) or Zollie Stevenson (Zollie.Stevenson@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Secretary
cc: Governor Sara Palin
Amendment to the Alaska Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the State's amendment request. Please refer to the Department's website(www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Alaska accountability plan.
We have reviewed your request to amend the Alaska accountability plan and found the following amendment aligned with the statute and regulations.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (Element 5.3)
Revision: Alaska will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the interim flexibility regarding calculating adequate yearly progress (AYP) for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/070207.html). Alaska 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 percentage 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, Alaska will use this adjusted percent proficient to re-examine if the school or district made AYP for the 2006-07 school year.