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Six Schenectady schools rise to ‘good standing’ 
under NYSED accountability system

Hard work will continue to improve status of all schools

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) released, on Thursday, the accountability status of all schools in New York State under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Under the new system, which replaces No Child Left Behind, every school in the state receives one of four designations based on the performance of students both overall and by subgroup.   The Schenectady City School District is pleased to share that six district schools, previously identified as focus schools (under the former system), have improved to schools in “Good Standing.” 

“This is great news for us,” said Larry Spring, superintendent of schools.  “I want to take a moment, pause and celebrate this news before moving on because this is progress for our district and should not be lost in the news.”

Hamilton, Howe, Woodlawn and Zoller elementary schools and Central Park and Oneida middle schools are among the state’s list of schools in Good Standing.  This means that they have met their established measure of progress and have not been identified as requiring additional support or assistance.

“I am very proud of the work that these schools have done to make this move in the right direction,” said Spring.  “It takes an entire school community to make this stride.  The hard work to ensure equity, implementation of TAC-D and work to address social emotional learning is making a difference and moving these schools forward.”

Spring acknowledges that the work will be even harder and growth must continue in order for these schools to remain in good standing.

Three district schools are identified for the next level on the tiered system, Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) which means students in one or more sub-groups are among the lowest performing. 

TSI schools include Van Corlaer Elementary School, Mont Pleasant Middle School and Schenectady High School.  Van Corlaer lands on the TSI school list because the multi-racial subgroup performed low.  Three subgroups at Mont Pleasant, Black, Hispanic and multi-racial, performed among the lowest.  The low performance of Students with Disabilities, Black, and Hispanic students is why Schenectady High School is a designated TSI school. 

“We monitor the performance of students in subgroups regularly and are laser-focused on closing the gap,” said Spring.  “Our work continues to be straight at ensuring that race, economics and disability are no longer predictors of student achievement.  We have a hard-working, dedicated staff who are committed to this work.  I am confident that as we continue to study the data, map our plan and plan our work, we will, in short time, move the needle and get these schools to Good Standing.

The three TSI schools are developing education plans in response to school data and identified needs.  The process will engage parents, staff and students.

In order to improve to Good Standing, TSI schools must - for two consecutive years -  increase achievement of the identified subgroups to appropriate levels and not be newly identified for any subgroups.  

The six district schools identified as Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools (CSI) are Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Paige, Pleasant Valley, William C. Keane and Yates elementary Schools.  They are identified as such because the all student groups are among the lowest performing. 

Because Keane Elementary School was previously identified as a priority school and is now a CSI school, it is preliminarily considered a “Struggling Schools in Receivership.”

Schools identified as CSI schools will receive more intense guidance, training and support.  A team and school lead will be guiding the improvement process.  Site visits will be scheduled, a needs assessment conducted and recommendations provided.  Parents, staff and students will be engaged as part of the improvement process.  

A public meeting, discussing the performance of Keane Elementary School and the concept of receivership, will be scheduled.  A community engagement team will be established to participate in the development of recommendations for improvement.

To exit CSI status, these schools must – for two consecutive years – rise above the levels that cause the CSI status.

“As a team, we can and will work to improve these schools,” said Spring who pointed to the progress of Hamilton Elementary School.  Hamilton was a school in receivership in 2014.  Today it was on the list of schools in Good Standing. 

“While we know that we have significant work to do in some places, we can’t lose sight of places where we have made growth,” said Spring. 

Spring also reiterated that Schenectady is still shorted approximately $40 million in Foundation Aid.  If the district was receiving the full amount of funding deemed necessary to provide a sound basic education to the students, per pupil spending would increase significantly.  “That would make a big difference in what we could do for our students,” said Spring.

01/17/19:  NYSED Release

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