At the beginning of 2008, the Governor and State Superintendent proposed corrective action sanctions for 97 school districts in California. These districts had been in federal Program Improvement (PI) status for at least three years and have not met one or more of the performance targets required under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
The State Board of Education required technical assistance for 44 of the 97 districts. South Bay Union School District (SBUSD) was one of the 44 districts. SBUSD was required to contract with an approved District Assistance and Intervention Team (DAIT) to analyze data, make recommendations to improve student achievement and provide the LEA with technical assistance to fully implement the sanction and any recommendations made by the DAIT.
SBUSD contracted with WestEd, an approved DAIT provider, which assisted our District in the analysis of needs and amendment of the LEAs Plan Addendum to implement corrective action requirements. The LEA Plan Addendum addresses district level policies and practices that support improvements in the following areas: governance; alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment to state standards; fiscal operations; parent and community involvement; human resources; data systems and achievement monitoring; and professional development. The primary strategy for improving student learning is full implementation of standards-based curriculum and instruction.
Four sections within the official sanction informed the SBUSD approach to implementation:
- Instituting a new curriculum will require LEAs to provide complete sets of the most recent SBE-adopted (K-8) and standards-aligned (9-12) core and intervention materials to all students, and to ensure the use of such materials in every classroom. A LEA will only be required to purchase new materials of those currently in use that are not the most recent mathematics (2007) or English/language arts (2008) instructional materials or are not complete.
- Providing appropriate professional development based on scientifically-based research for all relevant staff can be met by ensuring that all teachers participate in Senate Bill (SB) 472 or Assembly Bill (AB) 466 Mathematics and Reading Professional Development programs, including SB 472 Institute and Practica and that all school principals and vice principals participate in AB 430 or AB 75 Administrator Training programs in the adopted English/language arts and mathematics materials in use in their schools.
- Full implementation of the curriculum can be ensured by fully implementing the nine EPCs for instructional success. While many schools and LEAs are familiar with the EPCs, as measured in grade-span Academic Program Surveys, staff analyses of state-monitored schools suggest that few schools are substantially or fully implementing the EPCs or fully implementing a curriculum.
- Improving educational achievement can be satisfied by demonstrating improvement across four measures: percentage of AYP targets met, percentage of Title 1 schools in the LEA that are not in PI, relative growth in the Academic Performance Index (API) over time, and relative API performance.