- 2015 Session
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Each time school grades are released, some schools celebrate their success, while other schools and school boards turn back to their desks and continue working to improve their school.
A school’s grade is determined by a point system that measures overall academic performance and proficiencies in the core subjects of Math, English, and Science. High school grades also include graduation rates and ACT information within their point system. In December of 2014, the Utah Department of Education determined that 8% of Utah’s schools are performing at a D or F level.
SB235 introduces a program to help low performing schools to raise their letter grade and overall performance. President Niederhauser (the bill sponsor) during the presentation of the bill explains the process for this program as such:
“A school who has a below average (meaning a D or F rating – more on the state rating system) grade, will create a committee which will create a “turn around” plan (lines 102-112 of the bill provide a more in-depth description of this committee). The plan will then be presented to the LEA (Local Education Agency) and also the State Board. Once accepted and approved by both parties, this team will then have 2 years to enact that plan and improve the proficiency and increase the schools letter grade by at least one.” (Encompasses information from Bill Text Lines 124-148)
The President went on to further explain that if the school does not perform better at the end of the allotted 2 school years (meaning at least a 1 grade level increase), the State School Board has the right to either extend the time, or take other necessary actions.
This program also includes several large incentives for schools and administrators to continue improving. SB235 outlines the following rewards:
If the school does improve their letter grade by at least one letter, the school will receive a $1,000 reward per educator and a $100 reward per tested student. If the school improves their letter grade by 4 levels (example an F to B), the school will receive the reward of $500 per tested student and $5,000 per educator. (lines 336-346).
To watch the whole bill presentation on the Senate floor, click here.