PUBLIC NOTICES 2014-15 :: DECEMBER 18, 2014


Notice is hereby given that the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will submit a request to the US Department of Education (USED) to renew North Carolina’s ESEA flexibility so that North Carolina can continue to implement ESEA flexibility through the end of the 2018-19 school year. As part of the renewal process, North Carolina proposes to incorporate the following into its currently approved ESEA flexibility request.

  • Implement the A-F accountability model for grading schools (per NC General Statute § 115C-83.11. School performance scores and grades)
  • Request that the 95% participation rate annual measurable objective (AMO) be determined for the school as a whole and not for individual subgroups for The ACT. However, individual subgroup participation rates will be reported. The ACT assessment administration dates are set by ACT, and there are only two allowable dates for students to participate. This inhibits schools’ abilities to ensure that all students are tested if some are absent on the two days when the test is administered.
  • Propose a timeline for identifying the next cohort of Focus and Priority Schools based on using data from the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years and starting to serve the next cohort of Focus and Priority Schools in the 2015-16 school year.
  • Propose an amended methodology for identifying the next cohort of Focus Schools, which also looks at whether the lowest performing subgroup in a school with gaps is performing higher than the state for that subgroup.

The state also proposes to request the following new waiver offered for the first time through the renewal process even though there isn’t a likelihood of having excess funds to distribute under current resource allocations.

  • The requirement in ESEA section 1003(a) for a State Education Agency (SEA) [i.e. – NCDPI] to distribute funds reserved under that section only to local school districts with schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. The SEA requests this waiver so that, when it has remaining section 1003(a) funds after ensuring that all priority and focus schools have sufficient funds to carry out interventions, it may allocate section 1003(a) funds to its school districts to provide interventions and supports for low-achieving students in other Title I schools when one or more subgroups miss either AMOs or graduation rate targets or both over a number of years.

Additionally, the state is seeking comments on the following new waiver also being offered for the first time through the renewal process.

  • The requirements in ESEA sections 1111(b)(1)(B) and 1111(b)(3)(C)(i) that, respectively, require the SEA to apply the same academic content and academic achievement standards to all public schools and public school children in the State and to administer the same academic assessments to measure the achievement of all students. The SEA requests this waiver so that it is not required to double test a student who is not yet enrolled in high school but who takes advanced, high school level, mathematics coursework. The SEA would assess such a student with the corresponding advanced, high school level assessment in place of the mathematics assessment the SEA would otherwise administer to the student for the grade in which the student is enrolled. For Federal accountability purposes, the SEA will use the results of the advanced, high school level, mathematics assessment in the year in which the assessment is administered and will administer one or more additional advanced, high school level, mathematics assessments to such students in high school, consistent with the State’s mathematics content standards, and use the results in high school accountability determinations. [Note: the USED announced on December 16, 2014 that it would be issuing more guidance regarding this particular waiver.]

The state believes that the requested renewal extension will provide educators and state and local leaders with continued flexibility regarding specific requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in exchange for the State’s rigorous and comprehensive plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction. This flexibility is intended to build on and support the significant state and local reform efforts already underway in critical areas such as college- and career-ready standards and assessments; new systems of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support; and evaluating and supporting teacher and principal effectiveness.

The public is invited to review and comment on the renewal extension of ESEA Flexibility being requested through Jan. 9, 2015. A copy of the current ESEA Flexibility Request for North Carolina that currently is in place through the 2014-15 school year can be accessed at . The NCDPI intends to submit its renewal request to the USED by Jan. 30, 2015.

Interested persons may submit their written comments to Lou Fabrizio via email at or US Mail:

Lou Fabrizio, Ph.D.
Director, Data, Research & Federal Policy
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
6367 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6367

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.