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Dorn Releases List of Lowest Achieving Schools
Calls lack of funding unfair

OLYMPIA - December 19, 2011 - State Superintendent Randy Dorn today released a list of the schools in Washington state that face the some of the toughest challenges when it comes to student success.

As required by Revised Code of Washington 28A.657.020, the list is composed of the five percent of schools receiving or eligible to receive federal Title I funds that are identified as the “persistently lowest-achieving schools” in the state.

This year, 57 schools from 38 districts were identified.

The process of identifying the schools began in 2010, with the introduction of the federal School Improvement Grants. That year, the 47 named schools were given a chance to apply for grants ranging from $50,000 to $2 million. As a state, Washington received $17 million.

For the 2012-13 school year, however, no additional federal school improvement grants to support newly identified schools/districts will be available.

“State law requires us to put out this list,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “But that law was also based on the assumption that schools would receive more funding in order to improve. To me, it’s completely unfair to call out these schools without giving them additional resources, but that is the world we live in now.”

Dorn explained that, of the 57 schools, only four have fewer than 50 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. “These schools are dealing with very challenging populations. I know we’re in the middle of an economic crisis, but the past three years the Legislature has chiseled away at basic education resources. Those schools – in fact, all schools – need additional resources.”

Schools on the list are identified using a variety of factors, such as the school’s average state test scores in reading and math from 2009 to 2011, the school’s graduation rates and whether the school has met the federal Adequate Yearly Progress requirements.


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

Persistently Lowest Achieving School List (PDF)


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