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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

September 10, 2012

Oregon Schools Focus on Turnaround Efforts

State releases final Priority, Focus, and Model schools list

(Salem, Ore) – Acting Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Rob Saxton today released the state’s final Priority, Focus, and Model schools list. The state released a preliminary list earlier this summer. This list includes the 95 high-poverty Oregon schools which have been identified as needing the most supports and interventions to help increase student achievement and close persistent achievement gaps. Identification of these schools is one component of Oregon’s new accountability system under a federal waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind.

“These schools are receiving unprecedented support, coaching, and guidance as they work to turn things around for their students,” said Acting Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “We know that with the right tools and resources in place amazing transformations are possible. Our job is to ensure our schools have the tools and supports they need to turn challenges into success. My goal is to see 80% of these schools come off the list at first opportunity.”

Schools were identified for inclusion in this list based on a review of their academic achievement, academic growth, subgroup growth, and (for high schools) graduation and subgroup graduation rates. All schools in the state were rated under this new model and the bottom 5% of high poverty schools were identified as Priority schools, the next lowest 10% of high poverty schools with achievement gaps were identified as Focus schools, and the top 5% of high poverty schools were identified as Model schools. There are no significant changes to the final list since the preliminary list was released in August.

The work to help these schools turn around student achievement is already underway. Priority and Focus schools have been asked to participate in a deeper diagnosis of the areas in which they are struggling, and this work began last month with a full-day workshop for identified schools. Schools received additional information about what it means to be a Priority, Focus, or Model school, the school appraisal process, and the tools and resources available to identified schools through Oregon’s newly improved Continuous Improvement Network. Schools also received information about the five key areas of effectiveness: Technical and Adaptive Leadership, Educator Effectiveness, Teaching and Learning, District and School Structure and Culture, and Family and Community Involvement.

Identified schools have received a $5,000 planning grant to get the work started and will receive implementation grants in the months to come. Schools are currently completing self-evaluations of their strengths and weaknesses and have been connected with a leadership coach to help provide support and guidance throughout this process. This fall, all Priority schools will receive a comprehensive appraisal which will assess their challenges and opportunities. Focus schools will receive an appraisal over the winter or spring.

To access the final list of Priority, Focus, and Model schools, click here PDF.
To access data files with details on all Oregon schools, click here Excel Spreadsheet.
For an FAQ on Priority, Focus, and Model schools, click here PDF.
For a range of resources on Priority, Focus, and Model schools, click here.

Crystal Greene, ODE Communications, (503) 947-5650
Rob Saxton, Acting Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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