The New York State Education Department (NYSED) began implementing new accountability designations in the 2012-13 school year under its federally approved Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility waiver. Priority Schools are identified by NYSED as among the bottom five percent lowest-performing schools in the state. In August 2012, 221 Priority Schools were identified statewide, including 122 Priority Schools in the NYCDOE. Information about the 2012-13 school year accountability designations are here.
Priority Schools are identified based on the criteria listed below, using 2010-11 school year and prior data.
- Prior Persistently-Lowest Achieving (PLA) schools
- High schools with graduation rates below 60% for the past three consecutive years
- Schools in Improvement, Corrective Action, or Restructuring in the 2011-12 school year that had among the lowest ELA and Math Performance Index
Priority Schools must develop and begin implementing whole school reform models that address the U.S. Department of Education’s Turnaround Principles by the 2014-15 school year. There are three whole school reform model options for Priority Schools to carry out their improvement efforts as outlined by NYSED:
A school demonstrating improvements may be de-identified as a Priority School if academic progress is made in both 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. Forty-five of the 122 NYCDOE Priority Schools, or 37%, made progress during the 2011-12 school year. No new Priority Schools will be identified through the end of the 2014-15 school year. NYSED provides information about the 2013-14 school year accountability designations here.