Successfully completing 27 out of program's 28 requirements, the district was disqualified for allowing students with disabilities to use modifications while taking the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), modifications that were outlined in the student's Individual Education Plans (IEP).
Calling the disqualification a "technicality," LUHSD Superintendent Dan Smith says he plans to take action.
"Yes, I believe it (the disqualification) was because of a technicality, and I believe the decision was absolutely wrong," said Smith. "We plan to appeal."
Already on Program Improvement for not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) two years in a row previously, the district did make AYP last year. Although LUHSD did meet the 95-percent-participation requirement this year, the modifications forfeited its chance at making AYP and thus getting off Program Improvement.
In order to make AYP, and thus avoid being placed in Program Improvement, schools must pass a percentage of students in English and math on the CAHSEE, test at least 95 percent of their students, and show growth on the state's Academic Performance Index, which measures academic growth. Schools that fail to make AYP for two years in a row, and receive Title 1 funding, must participate in a Program Improvement curriculum.
Program Improvement is a multiyear reform program designed to keep a closer watch on schools and districts shown to be lacking in general academic growth. Sanctions can include such things as offering free tutoring to struggling students and allowing parents to transfer their children to higher-ranking schools, with the district picking up the tab for transportation.
Conversely, LUHSD did make AYP in the math category, despite students with disabilities being allowed to use modifications. To that end, Smith feels the non-participant status for the English category remains unfair.
"This is a huge inconsistency," said Smith. "It's not right."