How eight state education agencies in the Northeast and Islands Region identify and support low-performing schools and districts

Abby Rossbach

 

The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
March 2009

 

This report analyzes how state education agencies in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermon,t and the territory of Puerto Rico identify and support low-performing schools and districts under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

The report shows each agency had more schools newly identified as low-performing for 2007-2008 than schools losing that designation. The parameters set by the NCLB Act give state agencies flexibility in identifying schools and districts that need support as well as the kind of interventions to be taken. All eight states had intervention systems for schools or districts and they provided a variety of services centered on assessment, improvement plans, consultation, and professional development.

For Connecticut, state guidance and support for district-level systems is the key to sustained improvement in instruction and learning and for developing a clear accountability system. In Massachusetts, the districts are predominantly responsible for monitoring and support while the state provides resources and targeted assistance. New York has a system of customized supports requested by the districts and schools and administered from regional education centers. Finally, Rhode Island strives to create partnerships and reciprocal accountability between the state education agency and the local districts.

This study points to the need for continued learning in regards to building the capacity of schools and districts to improve student achievement, as well as the role state education agencies should take. It should serve as a building block for districts and state agencies in other areas of the country struggling to find a similar balance and make their schools a more effective place to learn.

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