SALT LAKE CITY -- Two Davis elementary schools are among eight Title I schools statewide that did not achieve adequate yearly progress for the second year in a row.
Parents of students at Antelope Elementary in Clearfield and Fremont Elementary in Sunset will receive a "call out" from their school principals today as well as a letter with more details on what their options are, said Christopher Williams, the community relations director with Davis School District.
The state Office of Education released the list of schools, which included Antelope Elementary and Fremont Elementary, to the media on Friday, but embargoed its public release until today, said John Jesse, assessment and accountability education director with the state office.
"We had originally scheduled with the districts to publicly release it on Aug. 9," Jesse said.
Then officials decided to release the list before the state school board meeting Friday, not realizing the districts needed time to notify parents.
This is the first year the state has released the list before school has started. In the past, it was released at the end of August.
The federal government requires states to release the list 14 days before school starts so parents can decide whether they want their children to continue attending schools that did not achieve adequate yearly progress.
Schools are required to meet standards set for testing participation, academic achievement in language arts and math, and school attendance.
Antelope Elementary and Fremont Elementary were among the eight that did not improve their scores in language arts for the second year in a row, so now are identified as schools "in need of improvement," Jesse said.
John Zurbuchen, federal program director with Davis School District, said what this means for parents is that they can choose a different school for their children and the schools also will receive "a very rigorous program appraisal."
Coincidentally, the district assigned new principals at both schools in the spring.
"The reason for the principal changes had nothing to do with the tests," said Tamara Lowe, Davis School Board member.
Both schools' previous principals recently received awards for their work and contribution to education.
Parents at both schools can ask to have their children transported to another school that passed the end-of-year assessment, Zurbuchen said.
Schools that qualify for federal Title I funds have a high population of socioeconomically disadvantaged children who qualify for free or reduced lunches and other federally funded programs. Title I funds are used to pay for those programs.
The schools will have to use the Title I funds to pay for teacher and curriculum development, as well as for busing children to school if parents request a change, Jesse said.
Zurbuchen said a school also can receive a successful label by improving test scores or other areas by at least 10 percent. So a school at which 66 percent of the students failed the language arts end-of-the year tests can be labeled as not making progress.
But a school where 40 percent passed the assessment tests a year before, then increased that to 50 percent passing the tests, will be labeled as making progress.
The end-of-year assessment testing is part of the No Child Left Behind program, said Karl Wilson, special programs educational director with the state.
If the schools did not improve the following year, they have to offer tutoring to students after school hours, Wilson said.
Utah has 274 schools that receive Title I funding. Last year, 15 of Utah's 994 schools were deemed in need of improvement.
This year, eight schools were taken off the list.