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Program Improvement Mandates Potential Restructuring

CAROLINE REN
ANGELA YANG
Editors in Chief

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MOOR graphic by LESLIE HWANG
Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), all states must conduct annual tests and measure results based on subgroups. Should a school funded by Title I fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two years in a row, it will be put under Program Improvement (PI) status.

Alhambra High School (AHS) is currently a Year 3 PI status school, waiting for the 2014-2015 report that will display statistics from the 2013-2014 school year. According to the California Department of Education, as of the 2013 AYP report, AHS has met 16 out of 22 requirements. If AHS can meet those remaining 6 requirements for two consecutive years, it will move out of PI status. In comparison, Blair High School (BHS) in Pasadena, the school students have the option of transferring to, met 11 out of 22 requirements in the 2013 report. BHS is a non-PI school.

“In 2013-14 and beyond, the AYP target for schools to meet is [that] 100 percent of the students score at the proficiency level, 380 on the CAHSEE in both ELA and math, regardless of language proficiency or learning challenges. This is an admirable goal for the federal government to set for all students nationwide, but as anyone can see, meeting these goals is not an easy task,” AUSD Superintendent Laura Tellez-Gagliano said.

If AHS becomes a Year 4 PI status school, it will have to either become a charter school, replace the majority of staff members, contract outside establishments, allow the state to take over governance of the school or otherwise implement another form of major restructuring. However, some remain unintimidated by this news.

“Should AHS become a PI Year 4 school this year, 2014-15 will be a planning year,” Tellez-Gagliano said. “A district level team will be working with the school to create an improvement plan. Parents and staff will have an opportunity to comment on the plan before it is implemented.​ If the school enters Year 5 status in 2015-16, the school is required to implement that improvement plan in 15-16.”

Others believe that students should play a larger role in meeting AYP.

“We also have the responsibility to help our school meet the state requirement. It really [is not] fair if the teachers are trying their hardest while we do nothing about it,” junior Mario Wuchen said.

There are also those who would rather look on the bright side of things, rather than let the current PI status affect AHS negatively.

“I think that we pretty much have met a majority of our goals. I think in many ways we’re known and respected through the San Gabriel Valley but [our current PI status] doesn’t adequately reflect our growth. This is only one indication of things that may appear to be disappointing, but if you look at the overall strides of our school, there should be no reservations for students or parents at AHS,” English teacher Nancy Padilla said.

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