West Virginia Seeks Waivers of Title I Regulations

November 22, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. The West Virginia Department of Education is seeking waivers of federal regulations concerning School Improvement Grants authorized under section 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
The grants are distributed through state educational agencies, such as the West Virginia Department of Education, to local educational agencies (LEAs) for use in Title I schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. Schools that receive such funding must demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use the funds to provide adequate resources to substantially raise the achievement of their students, including helping schools make adequate yearly progress and raise exit improvement status.
In accordance with the final requirements published in the Federal Register in October 2010, school improvement funds are to be focused on each state’s persistently lowest-achieving Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring (Tier I schools). Funds also can be used, at an LEA’s option, for persistently lowest-achieving secondary schools that are eligible for but do not receive Title I, Part A funds (Tier II schools). An LEA also may use school improvement funds in Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that are not identified as persistently lowest-achieving schools (Tier III schools). In the Tier I and Tier II schools that an LEA chooses to serve, the LEA must implement one of four school intervention models: turnaround model, restart model, school closure, or transformation model.
West Virginia’s waiver request would allow any LEA in the state that receives a School Improvement Grant to use those funds in accordance with the final requirements for School Improvement Grants and the LEA’s application for a grant.
West Virginia Department of Education officials believe that the requested waivers will increase the quality of instruction for students and improve the academic achievement of students in Tier I, Tier II and Tier III schools. The waivers will enable an LEA to use more effectively the school improvement funds to implement one of the four school intervention models in its Tier I or Tier II schools and to carry out school improvement activities in its Tier III schools. The four school intervention models are specifically designed to substantially raise the achievement of students in West Virginia’s persistently lowest-achieving schools.
The requests include:
Waiver of SEA Requirements
Tier II Waiver
·        Waive paragraph (a)(2) of the definition of “persistently lowest-achieving schools” in Section I.A.3 of the SIG final requirements and incorporation of that definition in identifying Tier II schools under Section I.A.1(b) of those requirements to permit the State to include, in the pool of secondary schools from which it determines those that are the persistently lowest-achieving schools in the State, secondary schools participating under Title I, Part A of the ESEA that have not made adequate yearly progress (AYP) for at least two consecutive years or are in the State’s lowest quintile of performance based on proficiency rates on the State’s assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics combined.
Waivers of LEA Requirements
School Improvement Timeline Waiver
·        Waive section 1116(b)(12) of the ESEA to permit LEAs to allow their Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III Title I schools that will implement a turnaround or restart model to “start over” in the school improvement timeline.
Period of Availability of FY 2009 Carryover Funds Waiver
·        Waive section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)) to extend the period of availability of school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2014.
For more information, contact Jan Stanley, state Title I director, at (304) 558-7805, or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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