lesson plan for 'failing' schools
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 23, 2004
Around the country, state takeovers of failing schools have been unpopular and
So, Arizona schools chief Tom Horne and the State Board of Education have worked
to sharply limit the number of Arizona schools that could be ranked "failing"
this October and to soften their approach to intervention.
On Sept. 1, Arizona will announce AIMS and Stanford 9 student test scores for
all schools and districts.
That same day, state officials will report which schools and districts passed or
failed federal standards, known as "Adequate Yearly Progress." The federal
formula, which differs from state to state, generally requires schools to
improve overall test scores, as well as test scores among smaller groups of
students, including poor children, minority children, and children just learning
The state will use the test scores and federal reports to rank schools as
"excelling," "highly performing," "performing," and "underperforming." Those
rankings will be released Oct. 15.
80 schools face being ranked "underperforming" for a third year. That
means they could make Arizona's first list of failing schools and face a state
takeover of their classrooms and budgets by the 2005-06 school year.
The state will offer each school an opportunity to appeal the failing rank. Even
if a school remains on the failing list, the state will work with parents and
neighbors and provide most of the schools with help and extra time to turn
Here is what this year's failing schools can expect:
Schools may appeal their ranking, and the Arizona Department of Education will
send out teams to review the school's student test data, progress toward its
improvement goals and curriculum.
¥ By early 2005, the Department of Education will make its recommendations to
the State Board of Education, whose nine members will decide which schools will
¥ If a school remains failing, the state will initiate three levels of
intervention the following year: low, which means monitoring the school to make
sure it's working toward improving; moderate, which means staff training and
pairing the school with a more successful school; and intensive, which means
replacing the principal and teachers with specially trained "turnaround
specialists," who would take over the classrooms and budget for about three
Staff changes will begin during the summer, and intervention plans will be
initiated as the 2005-06 school year begins.