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California Identifies the State’s Lowest-Performing Schools (2-7-19)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            CONTACT: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766

February 7, 2019                                                                                                                                        


California Identifies the State’s Lowest-Performing Schools


Of the 1,640 schools identified, 110 schools are from Los Angeles Unified –

88 school District-operated schools and 22 independent charters


Schools will now receive more funding and assistance from the state

and are also required to develop comprehensive plans

for improving student performance


LOS ANGELES (Feb. 7, 2019) - Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the California Department of Education (CDE) released a list of the state’s lowest-performing schools. Of the 1,640 schools identified, 110 schools are from Los Angeles Unified – 88 District-operated schools and 22 independent charters.

The schools will now receive more funding and assistance from the state and will be required to develop comprehensive plans for improving student performance.

Forty-seven District-operated schools and nine independent charters are identified as requiring comprehensive support. The remaining schools are identified as needing targeted assistance, meaning that additional supports are required for specific student groups, which can include racial, ethnic or socioeconomic student groups or students with special needs.

As the largest public school district in California, Los Angeles Unified has the highest number of schools on the list, although other districts have a larger proportion of schools flagged for needing support.

Criteria for identifying the schools are a part of the California School Dashboard, a new accountability system that includes math and English-language arts assessments, English-learner progress, chronic absenteeism and suspension rates, graduation rates and college and career readiness benchmarks.

“This is no secret and we should not need to be reminded,” said Superintendent Austin Beutner. “While many students in Los Angeles Unified are getting a great education, we know that not every student is making progress, and many schools face extraordinary challenges.”

“I took this job to make sure each school is a place of great teaching and learning and every student is provided with the best education. This is the most important work that we do,” Beutner added.

Los Angeles Unified officials anticipated the release of the California School Dashboard, as well as the list of low-performing schools, and have begun training and working with school leaders on strategies to improve academic performance. Los Angeles Unified has also partnered with the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence to analyse data, and to identify and implement research-driven strategies to accelerate student learning. Local stakeholders will also be engaged as needs of the schools and the resources are identified to accelerate student learning.

This is the first time the state has identified its lowest-performing schools since Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) scores – which measured student achievement – were discontinued in 2013.

“This is an opportunity for growth and learning,” said Board President Mónica García. “We take this data and invest our strengths and talents into continuous improvement of our schools so that all students reach their full academic and human potential.” 

She continued, “We are very proud of our Local District Central, which was an early adopter of this state-wide system of supports soon after ESSA passed in 2015 and has already made great strides in the continuous improvement cycles, in partnership with the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. The data from the state is also broken down to show which subgroups within schools need a differentiated plan for achievement. All of our students and families want to attend schools that meet their needs. The L.A. Unified community of students, families, teachers and staff must come together to address the gaps by creating meaningful opportunities and change that we are all proud of. The additional funding from the state for the lowest-performing schools is evidence of systemic change toward educational equity, and it gives me hope that we are making progress on that.”

“Last week, the state of California released a list of 110 Los Angeles Unified District-operated and charter schools that were identified as being in need of improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act,” said Board Vice President Nick Melvoin. “All of these low-performing schools must identify a plan for improvement, and some of them may receive additional funding to support that plan. But I have yet to hear from the state or my colleagues at Los Angeles Unified on how we will ensure that each and every one of these plans is implemented, and that student outcomes dramatically improve at each school. Just one struggling school is too many for the hundreds of children and families at that school who depend on it for success in college, career, and life. This board is rightly focused on ensuring the district’s fiscal stability, but in all of our adult conversations, we need to remember that our primary mission is to improve student outcomes. We should embrace the focus that the federal and state governments have helped shine a light on, and we have to make sure we do better.”

“The primary reason I ran for office was to work to elevate student achievement across Los Angeles Unified,” said Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III. “I was passionate about that work as a principal, and I feel even stronger about it now as a Board Member. We will continue collaborate and engage with all stakeholders to support our schools and increase student achievement.” 

“While it would be great to not have any Los Angeles Unified schools on a lowest-performing list, I am hopeful this will help us focus on the challenges that must be overcome, with state assistance and additional resources, in order to improve student performance,” said Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson. “As a retired career educator, I remain inspired by the outpouring of community support for public education that we witnessed in the last month.  I look forward to working with parents, teachers, and community representatives to help develop well informed comprehensive plans, and encouragement going forward, to address the needs of all Los Angeles Unified students.”

"We all have a critical charge to ensure every child has access to a high-quality public school,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez. “This new state data will help inform and accelerate the work that is already happening in Board District 6 to strengthen each and every school in the East Valley. Since I joined the Board, I have been working closely and constantly with my Local Districts, principals, teachers, parents and other stakeholders to increase the quality of every school. We will not stop until all kids receive the rich, well-rounded, and rigorous public education that they deserve."