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Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) Flexibility Information from Virginia Department of Education's State Superintendent Steven R. Staples

Opportunity to Comment on Virginia’s ESEA Flexibility Renewal Request
Jan 16, 2015
Opportunity to Comment on Virginia’s ESEA Flexibility Renewal Request: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/federal_programs/esea/flexibility/communications/2015/jan12.shtml

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will renew its request for flexibility through waivers of the nine Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) requirements listed below, as well as the selected optional waivers (items number 10, 11, and 14) the VDOE has chosen to request under ESEA flexibility.

The provisions below represent the general areas of flexibility requested.

1. The requirements in ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(E)-(H) that prescribe how an State educational agency (SEA)
must establish annual measurable objectives (AMOs) for determining adequate yearly progress (AYP) to ensure that all students meet or exceed the State’s proficient level of academic achievement on the State’s assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics no later than the end of the 2013– 2014 school year. The SEA requests this waiver to develop new ambitious but achievable AMOs in reading/language arts and mathematics in order to provide meaningful goals that are used to guide support and improvement efforts for the State, local educational agencies (LEAs), schools, and student subgroups.

2. The requirements in ESEA section 1116(b) for an LEA to identify for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, as appropriate, a Title I school that fails, for two consecutive years or more, to make AYP, and for a school so identified and its LEA to take certain improvement actions. The SEA requests this waiver so that an LEA and its Title I schools need not comply with these requirements.

3. The requirements in ESEA section 1116(c) for an SEA to identify for improvement or corrective action, as appropriate, an LEA that, for two consecutive years or more, fails to make AYP, and for an LEA so identified and its SEA to take certain improvement actions. The SEA requests this waiver so that it need not comply with these requirements with respect to its LEAs.

4. The requirements in ESEA sections 6213(b) and 6224(e) that limit participation in, and use of funds under the Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) and Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) programs based on whether an LEA has made AYP and is complying with the requirements in ESEA section 1116. The SEA requests this waiver so that an LEA that receives SRSA or RLIS funds may use those funds for any authorized purpose regardless of whether the LEA makes AYP.

5. The requirement in ESEA section 1114(a)(1) that a school have a poverty percentage of 40 percent or more in order to operate a school-wide program. The SEA requests this waiver so that an LEA may implement interventions consistent with the turnaround principles or interventions that are based on the needs of the students in the school and designed to enhance the entire educational program in a school in any of its priority and focus schools that meet the definitions of “priority schools” and “focus schools,” respectively, set forth in the document titled ESEA Flexibility, as appropriate, even if those schools do not have a poverty percentage of 40 percent or more.

6. The requirement in ESEA section 1003(a) for an SEA to distribute funds reserved under that section only to LEAs with schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. The SEA requests this waiver so that it may allocate section 1003(a) funds to its LEAs in order to serve any of the State’s priority and focus schools that meet the definitions of “priority schools” and
“focus schools,” respectively, set forth in the document titled ESEA Flexibility.

7. The provision in ESEA section 1117(c)(2)(A) that authorizes an SEA to reserve Title I, Part A funds to reward a Title I school that (1) significantly closed the achievement gap between subgroups in the school; or (2) has exceeded AYP for two or more consecutive years. The SEA requests this waiver so that it may use funds reserved under ESEA section 1117(c)(2)(A) for any of the State’s reward schools that meet the definition of “reward schools” set forth in the document titled ESEA Flexibility.

8. The requirements in ESEA section 2141(a), (b), and (c) for an LEA and SEA to comply with certain requirements for improvement plans regarding highly qualified teachers. The SEA requests this waiver to allow the SEA and its LEAs to focus on developing and implementing more meaningful evaluation and support systems.

9. The limitations in ESEA section 6123 that limit the amount of funds an SEA or LEA may transfer from certain ESEA programs to other ESEA programs. The SEA requests this waiver so that it and its LEAs may transfer up to 100 percent of the funds it receives under the authorized programs among those programs and into Title I, Part A.


10. The requirements in ESEA sections 4201(b)(1)(A) and 4204(b)(2)(A) that restrict the activities provided by a community learning center under the Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program to activities provided only during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session (i.e., before and after school or during summer recess). The SEA requests this waiver so that 21st CCLC funds may be used to support expanded learning time during the school day in addition to activities during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.

11. The requirements in ESEA sections 1116(a)(1)(A)-(B) and 1116(c)(1)(A) that require LEAs and SEAs to make determinations of adequate yearly progress (AYP) for schools and LEAs, respectively. The SEA requests this waiver because continuing to determine whether an LEA and its schools make AYP is inconsistent with the SEA’s State-developed differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system included in its ESEA flexibility request. The SEA and its LEAs must report on their report cards performance against the AMOs for all subgroups identified in ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v), and use performance against the AMOs to support continuous improvement in Title I schools.


14. The requirements in ESEA sections 1111(b)(1)(B) and 1111(b)(3)(C)(i) that, respectively, require the SEA to apply the same academic content and academic achievement standards to all public schools and public school children in the State and to administer the same academic assessments to measure the achievement of all students. The SEA requests this waiver so that it is not required to double test a student who is not yet enrolled in high school but who takes advanced, high school level, mathematics coursework. The SEA would assess such a student with the corresponding advanced, high school level assessment in place of the mathematics assessment the SEA would otherwise administer to the student for the grade in which the student is enrolled. For Federal accountability purposes, the SEA will use the results of the advanced, high school level, mathematics assessment in the year in which the assessment is administered and will administer one or more additional advanced, high school level, mathematics assessments to such students in high school, consistent with the State’s mathematics content standards, and use the results in high school accountability determinations.

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The Virginia Department of Education welcomes comments on its ESEA flexibility renewal request. Comments may be submitted electronically by Tuesday, January 20, 2015, to ESEA@doe.virginia.gov. Comments may also be presented in person during one of the following public meetings:

Board of Education Committee on School and Division Accountability
Wednesday, January 21, 2015, at 1 p.m.

Board of Education Business Meeting
Thursday, January 22, 2015, at 9 a.m.

Both meetings will convene in the Jefferson Conference Room, 22nd floor, James Monroe Building, 101 N. 14th Street, Richmond, Virginia. Speakers intending to present comment at either meeting above are encouraged to contact Melissa Luchau, director of Board relations, at melissa.luchau@doe.virginia.gov or boe@doe.virginia.gov to be placed on the speaker list.

Department staff will present a report on the ESEA flexibility renewal request process and a summary of revisions to the state’s ESEA flexibility plan at the January 22 Board meeting listed above. The Board report will be accessible at the following link beginning the week of January 19, 2015: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/boe/meetings/index.shtml.

Comments or questions regarding Virginia’s ESEA Flexibility Renewal Application or the ESEA flexibility renewal process may be submitted to ESEA@doe.virginia.gov.

   
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