PUSD, two schools face federal sanctions
By Emily Sorensen
Officials announced Monday that the Poway Unified School District will be facing sanctions from the federal government due to falling behind on federal education standards.
Sanctions, and the status of “Program Improvement,” have fallen individually on Valley and Midland Elementary schools, as well as the district as a whole, for their lag in meeting required state and federal proficiency levels in English-Language Arts and Mathematics for two consecutive years.
As part of the sanctions, announced at Monday night’s school board meeting, parents of students at Valley and Midland Elementary schools will be able to transfer their children to higher-performing schools in the district, with the district picking up the cost of transportation through the use of federal Title I funds. All parents in the district will be notified by mail of the district’s new status and what this means for their students.
The district will also be required to divert part of their Title I funds, aimed at providing for the education of children from low-income families, to district-wide staff development. Additional Title I funds will have to be used for providing extra tutoring and academic help for qualifying students (those who qualify for reduced or free lunch).
The district will not be able to have their Program Improvement status and the sanctions removed until the failing student subgroups raise their English-Language Arts and Mathematics scores to or above the state and federal required level, which will be 89 percent in the 2012-13 school year, and 100 percent in 2013-14.
The sanctions could also be removed if the state of California is granted a waiver from the federal government, excusing them from the No Child Left Behind requirements that are responsible for these sanctions. California previously applied for a waiver but was denied.
This is Valley Elementary School’s second year on sanctions, and the school dealt with transfers last year. According to Superintendent John Collins, Valley Elementary only had 25 students transfer to higher-performing schools in its first year on sanctions, and wasn’t expecting a mass exodus of students from either Valley or Midland Elementary schools from this year’s sanctions.
District-wide, it was the failure of socioeconomically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities to meet federal requirements for the second year in a row that triggered the sanctions. Both groups fell way below this year’s required 78 percent proficiency score.
A number of other student subgroups also failed to meet the 78 percent required English-Language Arts and Mathematics standards, including African-American, Filipino, Hispanic or Latino and English Learner students. Asian and White (not of Hispanic origin) students were the only subgroup to meet or exceed the 78 percent requirement.
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