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No Child Left Behind

Karen Bechdol, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
1 Academy Park
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: 475-6060


What does NCLB mean for Albany parents?
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2002 -- also known as the Elementary and Secondary School Act, or ESEA -- is designed to ensure all schools provide parents with a higher level of accountability, choice and information.


President Obama in September 2011 announced a measure that gives states flexibility in carrying out provisions of NCLB, and the federal Department of Education has approved New York's plan for NCLB flexibility. For the City School District of Albany, that means:

  • More flexibility in how we can spend federal education funds;

  • Expanded opportunities for learning time for students, especially those not meeting state achievement standards; and

  • No more Supplemental Education Services for students.

'Focus' district, 'Focus' and 'Priority' schools

Federal and state regulations require an annual evaluation of student progress in English language arts and math in each district and each school. The evaluation determines both the district's and each school's status.  


For the 2016-17 school year, the City School District of Albany was identified as a "Focus" district. A Focus district has one or more "Priority" schools, meaning schools that do not meet the annual performance targets in English Language Arts and mathematics.


District Priority schools are: Albany High School, Arbor Hill Elementary School, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, Philip J. Schuyler Achievement Academy, Sheridan Preparatory Academy and Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science & Technology. These schools are farthest away from reaching academic performance targets.


District Focus  schools are:  Albany School of Humanities, Delaware Community School, Eagle Point Elementary School, New Scotland Elementary School, Pine Hills Elementary School, Stephen & Harriet Myers Middle School and William S. Hackett Middle School. These schools have not made their academic performance targets, but are, in many cases, making significant progress in meeting academic goals.


The district currently has three schools In Good Standing: Montessori Magnet School, North Albany Academy and West Hill Middle School. These schools are meeting their academic performance targets.


Click here to download a letter from the superintendent with more information about the district's accountability status for 2016-17, including steps parents can take to help their children and the district improve.


School choice options
One of the provisions of NCLB is that schools designated as "in need of improvement" must provide parents a school-choice option. Under the new flexibility initiative, this provision remains the same. Under State Education Department guidelines, students who attend Priority schools or Focus schools within a Focus district may apply for transfer to a school that has met state academic goals. Although the City School District of Albany has been identified as a Focus district for 2013-2014, all the schools in our district have been identified as either Focus or Priority Schools, so this is not a viable option at this time.


For years now, the district has been offering ALL parents a choice option through the Open Enrollment Policy. This policy allows parents to choose another school outside of their designated neighborhood-zoned school to send their children to if space is available. Click here to download a chart indicating the number of students who have participated in the school-choice option annually since 2007-08.


Supplemental Education Services
Under NCLB, schools in need of improvement were required to provide Supplemental Educational Services (SES), or more simply, tutoring services to all eligible children. Click here to download a chart indicating the number of students who have participated in the SES program annually since 2007-08.


As a result of the new ESEA flexibility waiver, the City School District of Albany is no longer required to offer Supplemental Educational Services. Schools will, however, provide a tutoring program that will be more focused on helping those students with the most need and will align more closely with the curriculum being taught in the classroom staffed by district teachers. More information on this new tutoring program will be forthcoming from each individual school. Click here to download a letter from the superintendent [with more information about this change to the SES program.


Professional qualifications
Another provision of NCLB is that schools were required to hire only "highly qualified" teachers in Title I schools beginning the 2002-03 school year, and then in all schools in the 2005-06 school year. Under the new flexibility initiative, this remains the same.


In addition, all parents who have children attending a school receiving Title I funding are entitled to request information regarding the professional qualifications of their children's teachers. Any parent who wishes to know the qualifications of the staff providing services to their children should call their child's school directly.


Complaint process

The first point of receiving an action on complaints will occur at the building level through the building principal. The director of pupil personnel and the Office of Central Registration also will receive and act upon any complaints from parents, in coordination with school personnel.


The Office of Instruction includes the offices of the two assistant superintendents for instruction and the director of curriculum and instruction. The Office of Instruction often becomes involved in pupil personnel matters. The Office of Instruction has a long-standing practice of advocating for parents and students, as well as supporting staff in resolving complaints in the spirit of NCLB.

  • Director of Curriculum and Instruction

    • Karen Bechdol -- 475-6060

Complaints will be addressed in a timely manner. Parents who are not satisfied with the decision rendered at the building level will be offered opportunity within the same week to meet with the assistant superintendents for education to explore alternatives or options that will both satisfy the parent and, more importantly, positively influence the education of the student.


Providing a quality education for all students so that the goal of meeting the New York State Learning Standards in all subject areas and the probability of earning a high school diploma are imminent has been, and will continue to be, the benchmark by which the district is measured as successful.


Parent compact and parent involvement policy

Under NCLB, efforts must be made by school districts to involve parents in the education of their children. Districts must strive to build capacity of parents to help their children achieve high standards.


Parent compacts set out the respective responsibilities of the school staff, parents and students in striving to raise student achievement and explain how an effective home-school partnership will be developed at each school site.


Click on the highlighted text to download the district's parent compact and parent involvement policy.


Military notice
Another NCLB regulation requires high schools to provide information about senior students to the military, including names and addresses. If parents do NOT want their children contacted by the military they must "opt out" in writing. A letter is sent home at the beginning of each school year letting parents know the provisions of this law.


For information about opting out, please contact Albany High School at 475-6201


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