Across California, 188 schools got the news Monday that they were the lowest of the low-performing schools - a designation that will require them to be closed, converted to a charter school or be subject to a complete overhaul of instruction and staff, starting with the principal.Read the full story
Dozens of Bay Area schools, including 12 in San Francisco, landed on the state's 5 percent lowest-achieving schools list - a ranking required by the federal government.
The schools on the list serve predominantly low-income students and, therefore, receive or are eligible for Title I funds. The formula used to rank them was primarily based on standardized test scores.
Each school on the list will be eligible for up to $2 million in federal funding annually for the next three years to help the schools improve - but only if they initiate one of four major reform strategies starting in the 2010-11 school year. The grant money is separate from Title I funding.
The reform choices are:
-- A turnaround model: Replace the principal and retain no more than half the existing staff, giving the new principal flexibility to hire and to set the school calendar and the budget.
-- A restart model: Convert to a charter school.
-- School closure model: Shut down and send the students to a higher-achieving school.
-- A transformation model: Replace the principal, reform instruction, increase learning time and provide operational flexibility.
State law allows schools to hold off on choosing a reform strategy, but they must choose one by this fall or they will be ineligible for the Title I School Improvement Grant money - part of the Obama administration's stimulus funding.
California law requires that at some point each school on Monday's list will have to pick a plan, with or without the extra money.
"I would not have a school think they can just ignore this and not have to implement," said Theresa Garcia, executive director of the state Board of Education. "If you really want to have money to do it, you need to apply for the (federal) grant."
The state is eligible for up to $416 million of the $3.5 billion pot of money.
The funding could pay for staff, supplies, longer school days, training, textbooks or whatever else local officials think could help turn test scores around.
Parents, students and community members need to be a big part of that conversation, said Alberto Retana, director of community outreach for the federal Department of Education.
"The folks who have the most to gain and the most to lose are the critical part (of) this effort being successful," he said. "We need a strong and aggressive community to be behind these efforts."
Districts and schools opting to participate in the federal grant funding will have to have a plan within the next few months - giving them little time to prepare.
The following is a list of S.F. schools that were classified Monday as persistently low-achieving - a group that falls in the bottom 5 percent statewide.
San Francisco Unified - Willie L. Brown Jr. Elementary; Bryant Elementary; Cesar Chavez Elementary; Everett Middle School; Carver Elementary; Horace Mann Middle School; John Muir Elementary; Paul Revere Elementary; John O'Connell Alternative High; Mission High; Burton Academic High; Thurgood Marshall High