FULTON, NY – The New York State Education Department recently announced the 2018-2019 accountability status for school districts across the state based on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA.)
Betsy Conners, Director of Instruction and Assessment at Fulton City School District, said the district had quite a bit to celebrate from the results.
“Fairgrieve, Granby, Lanigan, and Volney are all schools in good standing. This is the first time in close to ten years we’ve had every elementary school in good standing. Keeping it rolling, the Fulton Junior High School and G. Ray Bodley High School are both in good standing. Since I’ve been in my role, we’ve never had all six schools in good standing. That really is a heavy lift and a lot to be proud of. We need to do a shout out to the administrators, teachers, students and families for standing by us and everybody working hard,” Conners announced.
Under ESSA, schools receive annual ratings for subgroups of 30 or more students in the areas of academic achievement, student growth, graduation rate, student progress, English language proficiency, chronic absenteeism, and college, career and civic readiness.
All students are categorized into at least two of nine identifying subgroups: All Students, American Indian or Native American, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, White, Multiracial, English Language Learner, Students with Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged.
There must be 30 identified students to count toward a subgroup. However, one student can be counted multiple times toward a subgroup as each state assessment a student has taken is recorded rather than the individual student themselves.
“ESSA is about equity. What we really want to focus in on is that it expands the measures of a school’s support and accountability in student success. New York State is really committed to seeing all students succeed no matter who they are, where they live, where they go to school, or where they come from. That’s really the whole idea behind this,” Conners explained.
Despite having all six of the district schools in good standing, NYSED has identified Fulton City School District as a target district.
“You would think since we have six schools in good standing we should be a district in good standing but we are a target district,” Conners said.
Fulton City School District has been identified due to their former identification as a focus district during the 2017-2018 school year with one current subgroup identified as a Target Support and Improvement (TSI) subgroup.
The Hispanic subgroup at the High School has identified as a TSI subgroup, resulting in the target district identification.
“To identify as a subgroup, remember you need 30. We had 39 students over three years. Six students exam scores were four of each, so we got to 24. Combined with 13 in each of the last three years graduation cohorts, that forms the high school Hispanic subgroup. The six students are within the 13 of the four year graduation rate, so it’s really the number of tests they took, it’s not a large number of students,” Conners said.
With only one-third of the population identified as English Language Learners, Conners said a language barrier is not the primary concern for students. As a district, officials will be looking into each student of the subgroup to determine what this subpopulation may need to be successful.
“It’s not a lot of students but we need to do something to target and make sure these students are getting what they need,” Conners said. “I want to meet with the kids as a focus group to find out where are their connections and how do we help and support them.”
As a target district, FCSD must submit a District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP) with initiatives in place that address the student learning of the identified subgroup population.
With the designation, the district will receive $25,000 toward working on the DCIP.
However, with the development of the district’s Strategic Coherence Plan, much of the groundwork is laid to submit in the DCIP, Conners said.
“We have a lot to celebrate, but that doesn’t mean the work is done,” Conners said.