The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

School Marked as Pending ‘Program Improvement’

The California Department of Education (CDE) has marked the school as a pending “Program Improvement” (PI) school for the 2009-2010 year as of last Monday, September 13.

According to the CDE, PI schools and districts are identified as those that do not meet their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets in at least one requirement or more.

Brigitte Sarraf, Associate Superintendent of Educational Services for the MVLA District, said that the school is pending because it has received Title I funds up until this year.

The school will not be negatively marked once the federal government completes the school’s forms, Sarraf said. The Mountain View-Los Altos (MVLA) District, however, will still be marked as a PI district.

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“Only schools/districts who receive Title I funds are subject to this federal accountability system,” Sarraf said. “LAHS does not receive Title I funds and will not be a PI school.”

Last spring, the district and school officials decided to move LAHS away from Title I funding. In the past, Sarraf said the school received about $150,000 in Title I funds—funds allotted under the No Child Left Behind Act “to help educate low-income children,” according to the CDE.

These funds are now being backfilled, or supported, by the district.

Unlike the Academic Performance Index (API), which is a state accountability model, the AYP is a federal accountability model. The difference between the state and the federal, Sarraf said, is that the API is a “growth model” and the AYP is a “fixed” model.

API targets are based on standardized test score improvement from the prior year. They are therefore used as a marker for student improvement. The AYP, on the other hand, requires a certain percentage of students to score proficient each year. The AYP goal is for 100 percent of students “to be proficient in ELA (English Language Arts) and mathematics by 2014.”

“Test scores vary over years,” Superintendent Dr. Barry Groves said. “The more important factor is how schools do over time. And both MVHS and LAHS have shown improvement over time.”

MVLA is still marked as a PI district because it receives Title I funding. All of these funds, however, are now being allotted for Alta Vista High School.

Under federal requirements, the district must send out a letter notifying community members of the PI mark. Additionally, it will need to set up a committee to “come up with a set of recommendations” on how to improve, Sarraf said.

The AYP increase each year will eventually require all students to be proficient—a goal that Sarraf said is “impossible.” Sarraf knows of two districts that have already returned Title I funding because they did not want to be negatively marked.

“Sooner or later all districts will be PI,” Sarraf said.

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