POWER has developed a strong Education Strategy Team including top leaders from targeted schools within LAUSD District 3. The Team includes parents,
teachers, classified employees, principals and union
members. The Strategy Team has for the past three years
shaped and created POWER’s long-term reform agenda
for LAUSD schools in West Los Angeles. For the next
three years the Strategy Team has identified four focus
areas: participating in health and safety inspections
and improvements at local schools, increasing parent
leadership and decision making roles in schools, winning
commitments from the Department of Education to involve
parents in the implementation of No Child Left Behind
funds, and creating a Parent-Teacher Mentor Program,
as well as working with School Board Member Marlene
Canter on Food Improvement.
Lagging middle schools targeted
New plans to boost student achievement to roll out this summer
Daily News, May 26, 2008 by Connie Llanos
Alarmed by slumping student achievement at Los Angeles Unified
middle schools, district officials are moving this summer to roll
out several programs designed to improve performance amid criticism
that middle-schoolers have been overlooked for too long.
(Click here to read the rest of the article)
POWER firmly believes that a free public education is a human right, and that all children are capable of the highest levels of academic achievement. POWER also believes that to help close the achievement gap, teachers, principals and other school personnel must build collaborative relationships with parents and community leaders.
POWER parent leaders organize to cultivate a network of relationships between community leaders, schools, churches, businesses, service agencies, and other public and private institutions to serve as a vehicle for education reform, democratic involvement and community improvement.
POWER parent leaders are sick and tired of their children receiving a second rate education; of being told that they and their children are to blame for their children’s poor education; that schools don’t have any money to address their most important needs.
To address the problem of low student achievement at schools in West Los Angeles, parents organize to work on the following issues: Improving teaching and learning and Access and accountability.
Improving teaching and learning will be accomplished by: collaborative relationship among teachers, professional development relevant to teachers’ needs, intervention programs, bilingual education. Access and accountability will be achieved by: collaborative relationships between parents, teachers and the principal, shared decision making power, review of data on school performance (test scores), community school review – assessment of school performance concurrent with test scores, parent participation in School Site Councils.
Over the next three years POWER will:
- Increase percentage of students at Stoner Elementary scoring at Proficiency level on California Standards Test (CST) by 10% each year.
- English Language (Grades 2-5)
- Mathematics (Grades 2-5)
- Increase the number of parents voting during School Site Councils elections
- Increase the number of POWER parent leaders making decisions on the School Site Councils
- Implement a community school review of student achievement
are AYP and PI?
The federal law requires schools, districts, and the
state as a whole to demonstrate adequate yearly
progress (AYP) in English/language arts and math. To
do this, student test results are matched to Annual
Measurable Objectives (AMOs) based on proficiency
levels. That is, the state sets annual targets for
how many students must test proficient or above in
order to make AYP.
For the 2006-07 testing cycle, the AMO targets were:
Elementary schools, middle schools, and elementary
24.4% English/language arts and
High schools and high school districts (grades 9-11)
22.3% English/language arts and
23.0% English/language arts and
In fact, 2006-07 marks the third consecutive
year that the AMO targets have remained the same.
Beginning with 2007-08, however, targets will
increase yearly until they reach 100 percent in
2013-14. This schedule of AMO increases was
established with the anticipation that schools and
districts would experience greater academic gains in
the later years after they had time to adjust to
issues such as alignment of instruction with state
The "proficient" threshold on CAHSEE for NCLB
purposes requires a scale score of 380 for each of
the English/language arts and math components. A
passing score on the exit exam, for California
graduation, is a scale score of 350 for each of the
English/language arts and math components.
Each school and district must meet the AMOs in order
to make AYP. Further, NCLB asks for that result from
all of the numerically significant subgroups—up to
seven ethnic groups and the socioeconomically
disadvantaged students (which the state already
included in its accountability system) plus English
learners and Special Education students (which it
hadn't until 2006). If any one of these subgroups
doesn't meet both AMOs, the school or district fails
to make AYP.
However, a "safe harbor" provision permits schools
and districts to make AYP if the percent of students
"below proficient" in the district, school, or
subgroup decreased by 10% from the previous year.
Further, if a school/district does not make AYP
solely because of its students with disabilities
subgroup not making the math AMOs, 20 percentage
points are added to "percent proficient or above"
for that subgroup's math AMO. In addition, if a
school or district does not meet an AMO or
participation rate condition in a given year, a
provision allows for two- or three-year averaging of
values if that will meet the condition.
NCLB also requires that 95% of all students—and 95%
of each significant subgroup—must participate in
each test. Again, a lower participation rate for
just one subgroup prevents the school or district
from making AYP. "Significant" is defined as at
least 100 pupils or at least 50 students who
comprise 15% or more of the total enrollment.
Two additional indicators are factored into AYP:
school graduation rates (defined as the number
of graduates divided by the graduates plus
dropouts over the previous four years) must be
at least 82.9% or improve by .1% over the prior
year; or improve by .2% over the second prior
school or district API score must be at least
590 or 1 point higher than the previous year.
According to NCLB, every school
that lists a student in grades 9-12 must show a
graduation rate. If a traditional comprehensive high
school doesn't have a graduation rate (e.g., doesn't
have a senior class), a proxy rate is calculated
based on the school's available dropout and
enrollment data. The district's rate or the
countywide average graduation rate is used for all
other schools that list a student in grades 9-12 but
doesn't have its own graduation rate.
According to NCLB, a school
receiving Title I funds is placed in “Program
Improvement” (PI) if the school or any of its
numerically significant subgroups fails to make AYP
for two consecutive years based on the same factor
(e.g., the English/language arts AMO, the math AMO,
or the participation rate). Additionally, the school
goes into PI if it does not meet the API indicator
for two consecutive years or, if it is a high
school, fails to meet the graduation rate indicator
for two consecutive years. A school gets out of PI
if it makes AYP for two years in a row.
In August 2003, 1,200 schools were in or entered
Program Improvement, according to the CDE. The
number rose to 1,601 in the 2003-04 cycle. In
September 2004-05 320 new schools moved into PI, and
121 schools moved out of PI. For September 2006, 639
schools moved into PI and 104 exited, and in 2007
232 schools moved into PI and 41 exited. This means
2,208 schools, more than 20% of California's
schools, are in some stage of needing improvement.
NCLB lists a series of increasingly serious
interventions for schools that remain in Program
Improvement. These begin with revising a plan for
the school and giving parents the option to transfer
their students to schools that are not in PI, with
the district providing transportation. The second
year adds providing professional development and
offering tutoring to low-income students. If the
school hasn't made AYP in four years, the outcome
could be significant restructuring or takeover in
the fifth year.