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Help Pledged for Struggling Schools
Annual list of “priority” and “focus” schools released

OLYMPIA — March 31, 2015 — State Superintendent Randy Dorn today released a list of schools that will receive additional state and federal funding and support services to help them meet the needs of all their students.

A bill passed in 2013 (E2SSB 5329) requires the state annually to identify challenged schools in need of improvement. The schools are referred to as Priority and Focus schools. The identification process is conducted by the State Board of Education (SBE) Achievement Index.

“We know there are schools in our state that struggle,” Dorn said. “Using a quality system like the Achievement Index, we can pinpoint the areas where they struggle and can give them the support they need so students can be successful.”

Schools were identified using three-year averages (2011–12 through 2013–14) on state tests in reading and math and/or graduation rates. A total of 253 schools were identified as Priority or Focus out of an estimated 2,173 schools.

Priority schools are based on the performance on state tests of all students. The criteria are as follows:

  1. Schools in which fewer than 40 percent of students perform at grade level on state tests in reading and math (combined) for the past three years.
  2. Schools with a five-year cohort graduation rate of less than 60 percent for the past three years.
  3. Lowest-performing schools based on the Achievement Index.*
  4. Current Priority schools continuing forward as Priority schools in 2015–16.
  5. Schools that scored in the lowest 5 percent on state reading and math tests for the past three years.

* Total of #1, #2 and #3 must be 90 schools (state law requirement).

Focus schools are based on the performance on state tests of one or more student subgroup (such as black or Hispanic students or students receiving special education services). The criteria are as follows:

  1. Schools with a five-year cohort graduation rate of less than 60 percent for the past three years.
  2. Schools that scored in the lowest 10 percent on state tests in reading and math (combined) for a particular subgroup. These schools have at least one subgroup in which less than 13.82 percent of the students performed at grade level on state tests in reading and math (combined) for the past three years.

All Priority and Focus schools will receive either federal or state funds to help them with their action plans for improvement. OSPI’s Office of Student and School Success will provide guidance and support services to these schools.

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About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015

 

   Updated 3/31/2015

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