No Child Left Behind - What is NCLB?


No Child Left Behind (NCLB) covers all states, school districts, and schools that accept Title I-A federal grants. Title I grants provide funding for supplemental education programs for children who attend high poverty public schools, and in some private school programs.  Some components of NCLB apply to non-Title I schools as well as those that receive Title I funding. 

 

NCLB is the 2001 reauthorization of a long-standing federal education law entitled “Elementary and Secondary Education Act” (ESEA) which was originally passed in 1963.  NCLB emphasizes accountability (through testing, evaluation and school reporting) and improving the quality of teaching in classrooms (through highly qualified requirements and ongoing professional development).  ESEA is due for reauthorization again and is currently under review by the federal government, legislatures and various state and federal educational organizations.  It is anticipated that in addition to changes in the law, the name will be changed from NCLB, with the new law coming sometime during 2011 or 2012.

 

The major focus of NCLB is on reading and math achievement through Title I-A, although other subject areas and programs are sometimes included as well.  Title I-A works to support activities to change the total school culture to one of continuous progress and improvement for all students.  This includes the development by teams at each school of annual and long-term plans which, in the state of Arizona, are called ASIPs—Arizona School Improvement Plans.  Parents are always encouraged to be a part of this planning process—both by completing annual satisfaction surveys each spring and by participating on the planning teams.  

 

Schools eligible for Title I services in FUSD for the 2009-2010 school year include:

  • Christensen
  • Cromer
  • Killip
  • Kinsey
  • Leupp
  • Marshall
  • Puente de Hozho        
  • South Beaver        
  • Thomas
  • Flagstaff Middle School
  • Mt. Elden Middle School
  • Coconino High School
  • Flagstaff High School


Services vary between schools, but may include:

  • intensive math or reading instruction through CLIP, Soar, Success for All and Read Right;
  • technology support in computer labs;
  • before or after-school tutoring;
  • summer and intersession classes;
  • family involvement programs and activities;
  • ongoing professional development for staff.

 

In addition to Title I-A, the largest component of NCLB, the law also includes the following programs:

·       Title I-D:  Neglected & Delinquent

·       Title II-A:  Highly Qualified Teachers and Paraprofessionals

·       Title II-D:  Technology Integration in Classrooms

·       Title III:  Bilingual Education

·       Title IV:  Safe & Drug Free Prevention Programs

 

Qualifications of Teachers and Paraprofessionals

 

Title II-A:  Highly Qualified Teachers sets minimum qualifications for all teachers—in both Title and non-Title schools.   

 

Highly-Qualified Teachers

 

All “core-subject” teachers must meet the criteria for "highly qualified" (HQ).  Core subjects include all elementary teachers and teachers at the middle and high school who teach language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, music, art, foreign languages, and special education.  In order to meet HQ requirements, teachers must have a minimum of a bachelors degree and have passed a state test of subject knowledge or, in the case of some middle and high school positions, have proof of a minimum of 24 credit hours in the specific content area.

 

FUSD boasts a highly qualified staff across every grade level and content area with more than 99% meeting federal requirements.  This is nearly 6% higher than Arizona state averages. 

 

All teachers must also hold a valid certification from the state of Arizona and have a current fingerprint clearance. 

 

In addition to these requirements for teachers, paraprofessionals (instructional assistants in the classroom) who work in Title I schools must have completed two years of college or pass a state-approved test that assesses their ability to support teachers in reading, writing, and math instruction.

 

Parents' Right to Know Teacher Qualifications

If your child attends a Title I school, you are entitled to information about your child's teacher and/or paraprofessional.  You are entitled to know whether the teacher is certified and qualified to teach the particular subject and grade, including information about the teacher's college degree and major.

 

Proficiency Testing of Children

By the 2013-2014 school year, NCLB requires that all children will be at the proficient level on state testing.  In Arizona, this is the AIMS test in reading, writing and mathematics.  Additionally, science was piloted in spring 2009 and will be administered to all students beginning in the spring of 2010.

 

School & School District Report Cards

All districts must report the scores for statewide testing to parents through a District and School Report Card.  Scores are broken into four subgroups: ethnicity, children with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and children from low-income families.  This information is used to determine if a school has been successful in teaching all groups

of children.   These report cards can be viewed on the Arizona Department of Education website at:   www10.ade.az.gov/ReportCard/

 

Adequate Yearly Progress

AYP or Adequate Yearly Progress is a measure used by states to determine if schools and districts are meeting the high expectations of NCLB.  The NCLB goal is that 100% of students meet or exceed Arizona Academic Standards by Spring 2014.  This is referred to as “proficiency.”

 

In order to meet the 100% goal, schools and districts must meet specific objectives each year over the next several years. These are referred to as Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO) and are calculated based on the gap between where students are currently achieving and the ultimate goal of 100% proficiency. 

 

Three additional factors impact AYP . . . attendance for Grades 3-8, graduation rates for high school and percent of students tested. 

·  FUSD’s graduation rate is 80%, compared to an average rate of 75% statewide.   

·  Districtwide, FUSD’s middle school and high school students achieve at levels 2% to 6% higher than statewide averages for reading and math. 

 

Overall, Flagstaff Unified School District did make AYP for the 2008-2009 school year.  We missed the mark for Special Education students in some grade levels and for English Language Learners (ELL) in Grade 3 Reading. 

 

Additionally, Arizona’s statewide ELL program sets requirements for a minimum of 15% of students in each of four grade level groupings (K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12) to be reclassified annually—or tested out of the English Language Learner designation.  In 2008-2009, FUSD met this requirement for all grade spans.  

        

Adequate Yearly Progress is calculated in several ways—first, on the total of all students in the district and then on various subgroups of students: racial and ethnic groups, English language learners, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students. 

 

This year, AYP includes a total of 286 reported areas districtwide.  FUSD fell below AYP expectations in just 10 of the 286 areas reported. This is a decrease from 15 reported areas last year.  Nearly every grade level’s ethnic or racial groups, as well as economically disadvantaged students, made AYP.  The areas where we did not meet AYP include the following:

·       English language learners in Grade 3 Reading

·       Low-income students in Grade 3 Reading

·       Special Education students in Grades 3, 6 and 7 for Reading

·       Special Education students in Grades 3, 6, 7 and 8 for Math

 

Each individual school in FUSD makes this same comparison and, while the District as a whole did make AYP, some of our schools did not. In those cases, parents received a letter from the principal before school began last summer describing the areas of concern and the school’s plans for addressing those specific needs.  

 

Transfers from Schools Not Meeting AYP

If your Title I School does not meet its AYP goal for two consecutive years, any child in the school may choose to attend another FUSD school that did make AYP.  This is called “School Choice” under NCLB.  Families are notified of this option each summer and provided at least a 14-day window for requesting school choice. 

 

Transportation is provided if a family chooses, and is paid by Title I until the sending school raises its AYP rate to an acceptable level.  Once the sending school meets AYP, the child may continue to attend the school choice site through the highest grade at that school, but transportation must be provided by the family.

 

Supplemental Services: Free Tutoring

If your Title I School fails to reach its AYP goal for three years, the school will provide supplemental services in the form of after-school tutoring.  You may choose a tutor, at no cost to you, from a state approved list.

 

In the 2009-2010 school year, only students who attend Coconino High School, Mt. Elden Middle School or Flagstaff Middle School and who qualify for free or reduced lunch are eligible for this tutoring.  Notices were sent to families in the Fall, but space is still available for qualifying families.

 

Restructuring Failing Schools

If a school fails to make its AYP goal for four years, the school enters a planning phase to restructure the school.  This may include replacing school staff responsible for the low achievement, hiring an outside expert to advise the school on how to make progress towards its AYP goal, implementing a new curriculum, reorganizing the school’s management structure.  Flagstaff Unified School District currently has one school in Year 4 Restructuring Planning.

 

If a school fails to make AYP for five consecutive years, the school district may replace

the principal and staff, contract with a private firm to run the school or reopen as a charter school.  Flagstaff Unified School District has no schools in Year 5 Restructuring.

 

Does FUSD Have a Plan for Raising AYP?

Yes. Several initiatives are underway to increase student achievement for all students.  Teachers and administrators are involved in an ongoing process that allows teachers to work together to identify specific learning goals and strategies to help all students.

 

Additionally, the District utilizes a framework to improve learning for all students.  Called SIOP, this model provides ongoing training and support for teachers to strengthen their own skills.

 

Finally, students who are still learning basic English participate daily in a special four-hour English language development program.  Want to know more?  Please contact your child’s teacher or school principal!

 

NCLB Right-to-Know

 

NCLB includes several right-to-know items specifically for parents and guardians. 

 

Military Recruiters—NCLB requires high schools to release student contact information to military recruiters.  However, parents have the right to request that the contact information on their children not be released to a military recruiter.  A form to request that student information not be shared is included in each high school student handbook. 

 

Prayer Policy—NCLB ensures that schools will not prevent/deny students’ participation in constitutionally protected prayer.

 

Other NCLB Programs in FUSD

 

Homeless Assistance—Title I provides services to families in transitional living situations, including those living in motels, shelters, campgrounds/forest/car, or doubled up with friends or relatives because of a hardship. Students living with someone other than a parent or legal guardian are also included. Students in transition have the right to enroll in school regardless of documentation (i.e. birth certificates, immunization records, proof of residency).  They are eligible for the free breakfast and lunch program and have the right to stay at the school they attended before the transition, with the district providing transportation to and from school. Families needing assistance should contact the District’s HomeStart Liaisons at 606-1515 or 774-1103.

 

Family Resource Center—The FUSD Family Resource Center, located at 1806 East Route 66, provides school and community information, family workshops and access to computers and the internet.  Tutoring is also available for students attending Title I schools.  All services are free! 

 

The FRC is open year-round from 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.  Call 774-1103 or drop by anytime!  You may also ask to have your name added to a mailing list to receive the monthly FRC calendar.  Or, check us out online: www.fusd1.org/frc

 

No Child Left Behind Resources

For more information and fact sheets, visit the U.S. Department of Education website at www.ed.gov

 

For more information on Arizona’s educational programs, visit the Arizona Department of Education website at:  www.ade.az.gov


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