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School turnaround through receivership


Giffen, Sheridan Prep identified as needing improvement

In January 2019, the New York State Education Department identified two district elementary schools that did not meet their student achievement goals: Giffen Memorial Elementary School and Sheridan Preparatory Academy.


That means the schools need to take steps to improve in order to meet the expectations created in the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal law that outlines how states can use federal money to support public schools.


It also means that the schools will be governed by the state’s receivership law, which appoints a “receiver” -- initially, the superintendent -- to oversee the turnaround of these schools. The law sets a deadline by which the schools have to demonstrate improvement.


The superintendent will work with Giffen and Sheridan Prep principals and their respective school communities to develop practices to meet and exceed the law’s expectations.


Giffen and Sheridan Prep both showed academic progress in some areas in 2018 even though the state placed them in eceivership.


At Sheridan Prep, the percentage of students proficient in ELA (levels 3-4) increased from 9 percent in 2017 to 14 percent. The percentage of students at level 1, the lowest level, also decreased from 56 percent to 38 percent in third grade.


In math, Sheridan Prep’s percentage of proficient students increased from 6 percent to 14 percent.


At Giffen, in ELA the percentage of students at level 1 decreased by 13 percentage points in third grade, by 20 percentage points in fourth grade and by 10 percentage points in sixth grade. The school’s percentage of sixth-graders proficient in ELA also increased from 5 percent to 15 percent.  


“While Giffen and Sheridan Prep did not meet all of their academic targets in 2018, it is important to note that both schools did make progress,” Adams said. “We are confident that with the strong partnerships these schools have begun to build through their Community Schools models, and with the leadership and teamwork they have in place, Giffen and Sheridan Prep will join our district’s list of schools in Good Standing.”


All three district schools that have been in receivership in the past – Albany High School, Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy and William S. Hackett Middle School – have made the improvement necessary to return to Good Standing.


About receivership

The law appoints a “receiver” -- initially, the superintendent -- to oversee the turnaround of these schools, and sets a deadline by which the schools have to demonstrate improvement. Receivers are authorized to make several changes, including lengthening the school day or school year, making curriculum changes and, in more drastic cases, replacing teachers or administrators.


The state sets "demonstrable improvement" guidelines for each school. If a school does not meet those goals during that time, the state will require the Board of Education to appoint a state-approved outside receiver, removing the district’s ability to control future decisions about the school.


Also, in accordance with the law, each school has submitted an improvement plan to the state.


How receivership will affect the schools

As the receiver for each school under its current status, the superintendent will work with each principal and the three school communities to develop practices to meet and exceed the expectations of the law. Change opportunities at the schools could include:

  • Becoming a community school, meaning the building would be a hub to provide social, health and mental-health services for students and families

  • Changes to curriculum

  • Extending the school day and school year

  • Re-staffing

Each school also is required to create a community engagement team under the new law. Each school's community engagement team will consist of the principal, parents and guardians, teachers and other school staff, and students. The team's membership can be changed at any time.


Each community engagement team must develop recommendations for improvement of the school and solicit input through public engagement. The team will present its recommendations periodically to school leadership and the receiver.


More information about school turnaround

Click on the highlighted text to learn more.






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