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Dorn Praises Progress of State’s Reward Schools; Pledges Continued Support to Under-Performing Schools

OLYMPIA — February 22, 2013 — State Superintendent Randy Dorn today released a list of schools that are leading the reform and improvement efforts in Washington state as well as lists of schools that have additional work to do to adequately meet the needs of all students.

The designations are required as part of the Washington state’s waiver from certain requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Schools that receive federal Title I funds can be identified as one of four types of schools:

  1. Reward
  2. Priority
  3. Focus
  4. Emerging

Schools were identified using three-year averages (2009-10 through 2011-12) of reading and math scores from the statewide tests and/or graduation rates. A total of 75 schools were identified as reward, 65 schools as priority, 107 as focus and 156 as emerging.

“The purpose of the identification is to acknowledge the improvement efforts in our reward schools and continue to collaborate, support and improve our lower performing schools,” Dorn said. “We have an obligation to ensure that each of our 1.1 million students in Washington has an opportunity to attend an excellent school.”

Reward schools fall into one of two groups: highest performing and/or high progress. Highest performing schools have met their Annual Measurable Objectives for the “all students” category, as well as for all 11 subgroups of students. High-progress schools are among the top 10 percent of schools as judged by both their performance and their improvement on state assessments over three years. Reward schools cannot have significant gaps in performance among subgroups.

Schools with the following three designations are eligible for additional support and services:

Priority schools consist of the lowest performing 5 percent of Title I schools in the state, using state test scores and/or graduation rates for the “all students” category over three years. Focus schools consist of the lowest performing 10 percent of Title I schools, using the state test scores and/or graduation rates for the 11 subgroups over three years. Emerging schools consist of the next 5 percent of schools above priority schools for all students, as well as the next 10 percent of schools above focus schools for the 11 subgroups.

Schools identified as priority, focus or emerging are required to take the following steps:

  • Participate in a needs assessment that will identify strengths and challenges in that school, along with recommendations for improvement;
  • Identify next steps, to be approved by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the school will take to improve learning outcomes for its students;
  • Implement those steps and examine a variety of data to ensure the school is making progress; and
  • Engage parents/guardians and the school community in its improvement efforts.

The Office of Student and School Success at OSPI provides a broad range of services and supports to collaborate with schools on their continued improvement, including leadership coaching; effective teaching practices in reading, math and English language development and meeting the needs of students with disabilities; using data to help students succeed; and building parent and community connections.


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 provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 4/23/2013

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