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January 17, 2019
For More Information Contact:

JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



State Education Department Announces New School Accountability Determinations

Under ESSA, State Identifies 106 Target Districts, 245 Schools for Comprehensive Support & Improvement and 125 Schools for Targeted Support & Improvement

Determinations First to be Made Using New Accountability Indicators Developed
Over Two-Year Public Engagement Process 

43 Schools to be in Receivership at End of 2018-19 School Year

Individual School Accountability Designations Available

Resources Available for Schools to Help Communicate Designations and
Required Actions to Parents and School Communities

Summary Presentation of Designations Available

The State Education Department today announced district and school accountability determinations as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and New York’s ESSA plan. State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia identified 106 school districts as Target Districts, 245 schools for Comprehensive Support and Improvement and 125 schools for Targeted Support and Improvement. In addition, NYSED identified 26 schools to be newly placed into receivership and 37 schools to be removed from receivership at the end of the 2018-19 school year, including two schools scheduled to close. This will leave 43 schools in receivership at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

“The Board of Regents and I are focused on increasing equity for all students,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “As we developed our ESSA plan, we made sure to include multiple strategies to improve educational equity across the state and the new accountability system is one such strategy.”

“New York’s ESSA plan is designed to improve equity in student outcomes by identifying the schools and districts that need additional support,” Commissioner Elia said. “With these new school accountability determinations, a community engagement process is started to develop and implement evidence-based strategies to increase student achievement in our neediest schools so all students in New York State have access to a high-quality education.”

Two-year Public Engagement Process & New Accountability Indicators

New York State undertook a substantial and comprehensive public engagement process to develop the school accountability indicators contained in the state’s ESSA plan. To support these efforts, NYSED established an ESSA Think Tank with representatives from more than 100 organizations, including district leaders, teachers, parents, community members and students, and consulted with national education experts to determine accountability indicators for New York’s public schools.

For the first time this year, based on data for the 2017-18 school year, every district, public school and charter school earns a score of 1 to 4, where 1 is the lowest and 4 is the highest, for each ESSA accountability indicator. Accountability indicators include:

  • student achievement in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies;
  • student growth in language arts and math;
  • 4-, 5-, and 6-year graduation rates;
  • student readiness for college, career, and participation in civic life;
  • acquisition of English proficiency by English language learners; and
  • chronic absenteeism.

Accountability Designations

Schools and districts earned a score for all students and for student subgroups. Such subgroups include members of racial and ethnic groups, low-income students, students with disabilities and English language learners. These levels are used to determine whether a district is a Good Standing District or a Target District and whether a school is in Good Standing or identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement or Targeted Support and Improvement.

The action taken by the Commissioner today is in accordance with New York’s approved ESSA plan and Commissioner’s Regulations §100.21, which require New York to identify new Target Districts, CSI Schools and TSI Schools. CSI schools are identified every three years beginning in the 2018-19 school year, and TSI schools are identified annually.  The list of Target Districts is also updated annually.

District & School Accountability Summary (Including Charters)

ESSA Category Statewide, including NYC NYC Only
Target Districts 106* 30 community districts
Comprehensive Support & Improvement (CSI) Schools 245 84
Targeted Support & Improvement (TSI) Schools 125 40
Total CSI & TSI Schools 370 124

Outside of New York City, no CSI schools are located in low-need school districts, 48 schools are in average need school districts, 28 in high need rural school districts, 41 in high need urban/suburban school districts, and 41 in the large four city school districts (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers). Seven charter schools are identified for CSI, while one charter school is identified for TSI.

*Note: the New York City School District is one of the 106 districts identified as a Target District. Under ESSA, NYSED analyzed each of New York City’s 32 community school districts to determine whether they will be subject to the Target District requirements. All community school districts, except Community School Districts 20 (Brooklyn) and 26 (Queens) are identified as Target Districts. The “NYC only” column includes public schools as well as four CSI Charter Schools and one TSI Charter School located in New York.

Target Districts

Target Districts are determined in criteria. The first criteria is based on the identification of a CSI or a TSI school within that district. If any school in the district is identified for CSI or TSI, then the district is identified as well. The second criteria is based on districts that were in Focus status during the 2017-18 school year and whose All Students group met the criteria for CSI identification or had a subgroup that met the criteria for TSI identification.

As a result of identification, target districts must develop an annual District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP) to identify and implement initiatives to improve student learning and accountability measures for which the district has been identified.

This plan will be based on a district-level needs assessment, any school-level needs assessments, and data collected and analyzed by the district. The plan must:

  • identify initiatives that will be implemented to positively affect student learning and to address the accountability measures for which the district has been identified;
  • identify resource inequities; and
  • explicitly delineate a plan to annually increase student performance with a focus on the accountability subgroup(s) and measures for which the district and its schools have been identified.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools

As required by ESSA, the bottom 5 percent of schools in student performance are identified as CSI schools. This year, 245 schools (including 7 charter schools) are identified as CSI Schools, because they performed at level 1 on a combination of indicators, or for high schools, if all students group’s four, five and six year graduation rates are less than 67 percent.

Like Target Districts, schools identified as CSI and TSI must engage in a needs assessment and develop and implement School Comprehensive Education Plans (SCEP) that must include evidence-based interventions to improve student outcomes.

All schools identified as CSI must complete the following actions:

  1. Participate in an on-site needs assessment, called the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness, led by an outside educational expert and a team assembled by NYSED;
  2. Review additional data and documentation to identify needs to be addressed in the school’s annual improvement plan;
  3. Conduct annual surveys of parents, staff and students;
  4. Develop, in consultation with parents, school staff, and for secondary schools, students, an annual School Comprehensive Education Plan that is submitted to NYSED for approval;
  5. Identify a schoolwide evidence-based intervention to be included within the annual improvement plan; and
  6. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, establish a participatory budgeting process or an approved alternate means of increasing parent and student participation in decision-making.

Target Districts with CSI schools will participate in NYSED-led on-site needs assessments. Visits to CSI schools will take place during the 2018-19 school year. More information on school improvement protocols and process is available on NYSED’s website.  

Targeted Support and Improvement Schools

Among the 106 districts, 125 schools (including 1 charter school) are identified as TSI schools.  A school can be identified as TSI if one or more of its student subgroups performs at level 1 on a combination of the new indicators.  If a school was in Good Standing, it must have two years of low performance before the school can be identified as a TSI School.

TSI Schools are required to develop a School Comprehensive Education Plan based on the results of an on-site needs assessment and other data collected by the district. This annual improvement plan must include one evidence-based intervention. In addition, TSI schools will be required to survey parents, staff, and students annually.

A complete list of Target Districts and CSI and TSI Schools is available on NYSED’s website.

ESSA Designations and Receivership

NYSED identified a new cohort of 26 Receivership Schools. Current receivership schools that are not identified as CSI Schools will be removed from Superintendent Receivership at the end of the 2018-19 school year.  Accordingly, two Persistently Struggling schools and 33 Struggling schools will be removed from receivership. In addition, two Struggling schools will close at the end of this school year. That brings the total number of schools that will remain in receivership to 43 at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

The newly identified Receivership schools were in Priority status during the 2017-18 school year and are now newly identified as CSI schools. This cohort of schools is placed into Superintendent Receivership and must show Demonstrable Improvement beginning with the 2019-20 school year or will be placed into independent Receivership.  Alternatively, school districts may choose to close and replace the schools with a new school or phase out these schools instead of having an Independent Receiver appointed. 

Under the state’s Receivership law, a school receiver (either the Superintendent of the district or an Independent Receiver, as determined by the Commissioner) is granted authority to develop a school intervention plan; convert schools to community schools providing wrap-around services; expand the school day or school year; and remove staff or require staff to reapply for their jobs in collaboration with a staffing committee.

For the 37 Persistently Struggling and Struggling Schools that have not been identified as CSI schools under ESSA,  including two schools that are closing, this special authority of the school receiver will sunset on June 30, 2019. While these schools are no longer receivership schools, they are expected to continue their school improvement efforts that were initiated while in receivership.  

A complete list of Receivership schools and more information on the Receivership program, is available on NYSED’s website.  

Funding to Support Required Interventions

Each newly identified Target District, CSI school and TSI school will receive Title I School Improvement funds to support required activities including, but not limited to, needs assessment, professional learning, improvement plan development and any other improvement activities designated by NYSED. New York State receives $80 million in federal Title I funding. Funds will be allocated for all identified schools, except any schools that are completing implementation of whole school reform plans that had been funded with School Improvement Grants or 2018-19 NYS Receivership Grants. Additional information about this funding is available at 2018-19 Title I School Improvement Grant.

Resources for Schools & Parents

NYSED has developed materials and resources to help educators, parents and other school community members understand their school’s accountability determination. These materials include a fact sheet for parents available in nine languages, a fact sheet for educators, presentations for school leaders and information on NYSED ESSA programs. The materials can be found on the Department’s website.

ESSA is Equity

The final approved ESSA plan emphasizes fostering equity in education for New York’s students; expands measures for school support and accountability and student success; and requires school-level improvement plans for the lowest performing schools overall, as well as schools with the lowest performance for certain student populations.

New York State is committed to ensuring that all students succeed and thrive in school no matter who they are, where they live, where they go to school, or where they come from. The plan includes strategies for supporting the professional growth of educators and ensuring that all students, including Multilingual learners/English language learners, immigrant students, migratory youth, students with disabilities, homeless youth, and neglected and delinquent youth, have access to a well-rounded, culturally responsive and sustaining education that supports students’ academic and social-emotional development.

ESSA strategies to foster equity include to: address disparities in training for teachers to help them be effective in the classroom; provide students more access to rigorous high school coursework; make schools equally welcoming environments for all students; increase fiscal transparency in school building spending; and use multiple measures to allow students to demonstrate proficiency in state learning standards.

The ESSA plan expands measures for school support and accountability and student success and requires school-level improvement plans for the lowest performing schools overall as well as schools with the lowest performance for certain student populations. ESSA also provides states and LEAs with funding to provide additional support to certain groups of students as well as to schools that have been identified for additional support. The plan also includes strategies for supporting the professional growth of educators and ensuring that all students receive a culturally responsive and sustaining education that supports their academic and social-emotional development. Additional information on the state’s ESSA plan can be found on NYSED’s website.

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