These schools are eligible for additional federal funding to strengthen performance on their campuses.
The identification is a component of the state’s conditional waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001.
Under the state’s NCLB waiver, Texas schools are no longer designated as having made or missed Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Instead of federal designations for all schools in Texas, only 15 percent of Title I schools are being identified as Priority or Focus Schools.
Locally, seven schools around the Big Country and Heartland have been identified as “Focus” schools. These are: Colorado ISD, Loraine ISD, Snyder ISD Merkel ISD, Brownwood ISD and Winters ISD.
These and all other schools identified around that state are subject to a series of federally-prescribed interventions.
Utilizing data from the 2013 Accountability System, 297 campuses among 130 districts and charter operators have been designated as a Priority school under the federal system. Priority schools include a combination of Tier I and II Texas Title I Priority Schools (TTIPS); Title I schools with graduation rates below 60 percent; and the lowest-performing Title I schools based on achievement results on reading/math safeguards at the All Student level.
Priority schools – that are not already receiving TTIPS funding – will receive $161,000 in additional federal funding to pay for an improvement process that aligns with federally-identified campus turnaround principles.
In addition, 598 campuses among 215 districts and charter operators have been designated as a Focus school under the federal system. Ten percent of Title I schools – not otherwise identified as a Priority school – are considered Focus schools. These schools include campuses with the widest gaps between reading/math performance of the federal student groups and safeguard targets of 75 percent.
Focus schools will receive $20,000 in additional federal funding to begin identifying instructional interventions. Those interventions will become part of the school’s campus improvement plan and will need to be fully implemented in the 2014-15 school year.
To exit Priority or Focus status, a school must make significant progress for two consecutive years following interventions and no longer fit the criteria to be identified as a Priority or Focus school.
School districts and charter operators of identified priority and focus schools were formally notified this week of those campuses within their jurisdiction. The list has also been shared with the U.S. Department of Education, as required under the state’s NCLB waiver.
The complete list of 2013-14 Priority and Focus schools can be viewed on the TEA website here.