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Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Update on Implementation of New York’s Differentiated Accountability Model



March 10, 2009


Goals 1 and 2







Issue for Discussion


What are the implications of the United States Department of Education’s approval of New York’s Differentiated Accountability Proposal?  What actions are necessary to successfully implement the proposal?


Reason(s) for Consideration

              For Information.


Proposed Handling


The question will come before the EMSC Committee for discussion in March 2009. 


Procedural History


              In January 2007, the Regents adopted a set of recommendations for reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.  Among the Regents recommendations was one that focused on targeted interventions for schools or districts identified for improvement. The Regents proposed that “An SEA should have the authority to forego imposing all NCLB mandated interventions on a school or district in the event that a school is identified for improvement solely because of failure to meet the participation rate requirement or because of the failure of a subgroup to make AYP.”


In April 2008, we also spoke to the Board about the plan to provide more flexibility to schools and districts and to reduce the number of “lists” of schools/districts in need of improvement and increase the available supports to these schools, as part of our overall P-16 reform strategy.  


During the spring, summer and fall of 2008, Department staff worked to develop and refine a proposal for submission to the United States Department of Education (USDE) that would accomplish those objectives.  In October 2008, the Regents approved the submission of a differentiated accountability proposal to USDE to reduce the number of school improvement lists, increase support for district school improvement efforts, and provide districts with greater flexibility to target interventions in schools identified for improvement because of the performance of a single subgroup.   The proposal was approved by USDE in January 2009. 


The Regents need to adopt amendments to Commissioner’s regulations that conform New York’s current accountability system to the provisions of the approved differentiated accountability model.   The Regents will discuss draft regulations later this spring. 


Background Information


              Differentiated accountability  is the next iteration of New York’s successful school support model. It allows for more precise targeting of supports and interventions than is offered by the current accountability system. The model is based on research that brings to the forefront the best practices in the school improvement efforts of New York State and the rest of the country.


Next Steps


Differentiated accountability will be an important part of New York’s streamlined accountability system and will reduce the regulatory responsibilities that didn’t add value to school districts’ efforts to improve student outcomes. Under Differentiated Accountability the Department will be able to:


  • Reduce the current number of school accountability categories from 19 to 8 by integrating federal and State accountability systems, eliminating dual Title I and non-Title I streams of improvement and collapsing identifications for improvement into three distinct Phases, each of which provides schools with diagnostic tools, planning strategies, and supports and interventions specific to that phase in the improvement process and the school’s category of need.
  • Allow for differentiation in the improvement process, permitting schools and districts to prepare and implement school improvement plans that best match a school’s designation.
  • Better align the SURR and NCLB processes and ensure that schools with systemic and persistent failure fundamentally restructure or close.
  • Strengthen the capacity of districts to assist schools to improve as well as  help districts better integrate local improvement initiatives with NCLB requirements.
  • Empower parents by increasing combined participation in Public School Choice (PSC) and Supplemental Educational Services (SES) by offering SES in the first year of a school’s identification for improvement and school choice only after an identified school has failed to make AYP.
  • Maximize SED’s limited resources and utilize all parts of USNY.


Among other things, differentiated accountability will allow schools greater flexibility to work with their districts to develop school improvement plans, reverse the order in which Title I schools offer supplementary educational services and public school choice to eligible students, revise the time frame under which schools implement corrective action plans and require a curriculum audit as part of the process, assign Joint Intervention Teams including as necessary Distinguished Educators to restructuring schools, merge Title I and non-Title improvement classifications, and integrate the Schools Under Registration Review program into the Differentiated Accountability pilot.


The preparation for the transition to differentiated accountability has begun.  To give the Board of Regents a preview of how this new streamlined system will work beginning in the 2009-10 school year, staff have analyzed how the current accountability status of schools compares to what the accountability status of schools would have been had the differentiated accountability system been in place during the 2008-2009 school year.  As the chart below indicates, the number of accountability designations would have been reduced from 19 to 8.


Current Accountability System*

Differentiated Accountability System **

Good Standing (3837)

Good Standing (3837)

SINI 1 (160)

SRAP 1 (22)

School Improvement Basic (196)

School Improvement

Focused (21)

School Improvement



SINI 2 (82)

SRAP 2 (20)

Corrective Action (48)

SRAP 3 (18)

Corrective Action Focused (98)

Corrective Action Comprehensive (24)


Planning for Restructuring (50)

SRAP 4 (13)

Restructuring  1 (51)

SRAP 5 (17)

Restructuring Focused


Restructuring Comprehensive (Including Schools Under Registration Review) (118)

Restructuring  2 (34)

SRAP 6 (26)

Restructuring  3 (50)

SRAP 7 (4)

Restructuring  4 (53)

SRAP 8 (0)

Restructuring  5 (15)

SRAP 9 (2)


Note: Numbers in parenthesis refer to the number of schools within a particular classification.



At this month’s committee discussion, staff will provide three examples of how this model will work to benefit students and schools in various stages of the accountability process.


Timetable for Implementation


              Later this spring, staff will bring draft regulations to the Board of Regents for discussion.  Upon adoption of the regulations by the Regents, SED will inform districts regarding the transitional accountability status of each school in the district.  During the summer, SED will inform districts of each school’s 2009-2010 school year accountability status. Implementation of the differentiated accountability pilot will commence during the 2009-2010 school year.