In June, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education granted Virginia waivers from certain requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). For detailed information, see Virginia's ESEA Flexibility.
Per the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) flexibility waiver provisions, ten percent of Virginia’s Title I schools (72) are identified as focus schools based on reading and mathematics achievement of students in the three proficiency gap groups. Title I schoolswith one or more proficiency gap groups not meeting performance expectations in reading and mathematics will be considered for inclusion in the focus school category. Title I schools with one or more proficiency gap groups failing to meet the 95 percent participation rate in reading and/or mathematics will also be considered for inclusion in the focus school category.
- Gap Group 1: Students with Disabilities, English Language Learners (ELL), and Economically Disadvantaged (unduplicated)
- Gap Group 2: Black students, not of Hispanic origin, including Students with Disabilities, ELL, and Economically Disadvantaged Students
- Gap Group 3: Hispanic students, of one or more races, including Students with Disabilities, ELL, and Economically Disadvantaged Students
Methodology for Identifying Focus Schools
The methodology to determine a list of Title I focus schools that do not meet the participation rate and have the largest proficiency gaps is described below:
- Exclude any schools identified as priority schools.
- Automatically identify any school not meeting the participation rate of 95 percent in reading and/or mathematics.
- For the remaining schools, calculate for each school the difference between the annual measurable objective (AMO) target and each gap group’s performance in reading and mathematics to determine proficiency gap points.
- Exclude from each school’s calculation any gap group that meets or exceeds the AMO target.
- Sum of the proficiency gap points in reading and mathematics and divide by the number of gap groups that did not meet the AMO target(s).
- Rank schools in order of the total number of average proficiency gap points.
- Identify from the list of schools ranked by proficiency gap points a number equal to 10 percent of the state’s total Title I schools (72 schools).
A school will exit the focus status if the following criteria are met:
- The proficiency gap group(s) for which the school was originally identified meet(s) the AMOs described for proficiency gap groups for two consecutive years; and
- The school no longer falls into the bottom 10 percent of Title I schools for the subsequent school year based on the focus school methodology.
Focus schools must employ a state-approved coach to help the division develop, implement and monitor intervention strategies to improve the performance of students at risk of not meeting achievement standards or dropping out of school. The Office of School Improvement (OSI) has designed a comprehensive system of support for identified focus schools and their division-level teams.
2014-2015 Focus Schools Resources
- Focus School Guide 2014-2015 (Word)
- Focus School Checklist Cohort 1 (Word)
- Focus School Checklist Cohort 2 (Word)
- Focus School Checklist Cohort 3 (Word)
- Frequently Asked Questions – Focus Schools 2014-2015 (PDF)
- Documents from the October 10, 2014 Focus Schools Conference
- Dr. Yvonne Holloman Focus Schools Conference Presentation (PDF)
- The Division Leadership Team (Michael Hill and Dr. Natalie Halloran) (PPT)
- Sample Action Agenda (PDF)
- Sample Math Instructional Walkthrough Form (PDF)
- Sample Reading Classroom Observation Form (PDF)
- Reading – Instruction, Interventions, and Resources (PDF) – Thomas Santangelo
- Using Data to Plan Interventions (PDF) – Dr. Rick Bowmaster
- Quarterly Data Reviews – David Wymer
Indistar Technical AssistanceThe VDOE Office of School Improvement offers a series of webinars for Focus Schools on the use of the Indistar Web-based planning tool.
Differentiated Technical Assistance/TrainingThe VDOE Office of School Improvement provides resources including recorded webinars, webinar series, tools and other materials on topics related to school improvement on its Differentiated Technical Assistance/Training page.
2013-2014 Focus Schools Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions About Focus Schools (PDF)
- Cohort 1 Resources
- Cohort 2 Resources
- Contractor Resources – includes materials from September 16, 2013 meeting in Williamsburg
2012-2013 Focus Schools Resources
- Focus schools guide (PDF)
- Documents from the September 17, 2012 focus schools conference