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PA's New List Of Struggling Schools Looks Beyond Usual Suspects

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - Pennsylvania released a list of 289 struggling schools Thursday that will have to develop "improvement plans" with the direction of state advisors.

Unlike in previous years, the state focused less on schools with low overall test scores, and included schools where certain subgroups of students failed to meet academic benchmarks.

Those subgroups include economically disadvantaged students, English language learners, special education students, and "federally established race and ethnic populations," according to the state.

The new designations change the calculus for how the state defines struggling schools, drawing scrutiny to some schools that would have previously flown under the radar.

Each identified school will work with a team of state officials to create improvement plans, though there's no plan to radically intervene at schools that fail to improve.

In previous iterations of this federally mandated program, schools that didn't improve faced options that could include firing staff, closing schools, or converting traditional public schools into charters.

But when the Congress replaced the No Child Left Behind Act with a new law called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it gave states more flexibility.

Pennsylvania's new approach doesn't mention the same sort of major changes, even for schools that stagnate or backslide.

"The Wolf administration recognizes that students are more than test scores and that many factors contribute to student success," said Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera in a statement. "The schools designated today will receive a variety of supports tailored to their unique needs. Ultimately, this extra support will create a more successful learning environment for students."

Under the new designations, schools can receive one of two labels: Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) or Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (A-TSI).

Most of the schools that qualify for these labels receive Title I money, a federal program that sends dollars to schools with lots of low-income students.

CSI schools are Title I schools that scored among the bottom five percent in the state according to a formula that looks at test scores, attendance figures, and other data. Non-Title-I schools can qualify if they graduate less than two-thirds of their students.

All CSI schools will receive a so-far-undisclosed amount of extra state money for at least two school years, although it's unclear whether that support will extend beyond the first two years.

Schools in the second category, A-TSI, are Title I recipients that scored among the bottom five percent in at least one student subgroup. If any school has graduation rates below 67 percent in a certain sub-group they can also get an A-TSI label.

In a plan submitted to the federal government, state officials said they would "continue to evaluate" whether A-TSI schools will get extra money.

Schools named Tuesday will remain under state watch until 2021.

In the past, Pennsylvania labeled schools as focus or priority schools, using a formula weighted more heavily toward standardized test scores.

Now, some schools that wouldn't have met the focus or priority thresholds will earn an A-TSI designation. That may sound like a semantic distinction, but it will actually change the pool of schools receiving extra support.

Take Philadelphia as an example.

Under the old system, 42 percent of all focus and priority schools were located in the state's largest public school district.

Now, only 21 percent of CSI and A-TSI schools are run by the School District of Philadelphia.

Superintendent William Hite praised the state's new method of designating schools, and welcomed the shift away from "draconian" interventions at low-performing schools.

"We didn't find that was, over the long haul, very beneficial," said Hite.

Under Hite's leadership Philadelphia converted more than a dozen traditional public schools into charters, although it hasn't converted any new schools since 2015. The district still has its own process for identifying underperforming schools, and it requires those schools to create improvement plans that can include removing teachers.

CSI Schools

LEA NameSchool Name
Achievement House CSAchievement House CS
ACT Academy Cyber CSACT Academy Cyber CS
Agora Cyber CSAgora Cyber CS
Allentown City SDFrancis D Raub MS
Allentown City SDHarrison-Morton MS
Allentown City SDSouth Mountain MS
Allentown City SDTrexler MS
ASPIRA Bilingual Cyber CSASPIRA Bilingual Cyber CS
Bethlehem Area SDBroughal MS
Center for Student Learning CS at PennsburyCenter for Student Learning CS at Pennsbury
Central Pennsylvania Digital Learning Foundation CSCentral Pennsylvania Digital Learning Foundation CS
Chester-Upland SDChester HS
Chester-Upland SDSTEM at Showalter
Chester-Upland SDToby Farms Intermediate School
Commonwealth Charter Academy CSCommonwealth Charter Academy CS
Crispus Attucks CSCrispus Attucks CS
Esperanza Cyber CSEsperanza Cyber CS
Harrisburg City SDDowney School
Harrisburg City SDHarrisburg HS
Harrisburg City SDRowland Academy
Hazleton Area SDFreeland El/MS
Hill House Passport Academy CSHill House Passport Academy CS
Keystone Education Center CSKeystone Education Center CS
Khepera CSKhepera CS
La Academia Partnership CSLa Academia Partnership CS
Lancaster SDHand MS
Lancaster SDLincoln MS
Lancaster SDReynolds MS
Lancaster SDWheatland MS
McKeesport Area SDFounders Hall MS
New Day CSNew Day CS
Norristown Area SDStewart MS
Olney Charter HSOlney Charter HS
Pennsylvania Cyber CSPennsylvania Cyber CS
Pennsylvania Distance Learning CSPennsylvania Distance Learning CS
Perseus House CS of ExcellencePerseus House CS of Excellence
Philadelphia City SDAmy at Martin
Philadelphia City SDBache-Martin School
Philadelphia City SDBartram John - Main
Philadelphia City SDBuilding 21
Philadelphia City SDCatharine Joseph School
Philadelphia City SDClemente Roberto MS
Philadelphia City SDComegys Benjamin B School
Philadelphia City SDDay Anna B School
Philadelphia City SDDobbins AVT HS
Philadelphia City SDEdison HS/Fareira Skills
Philadelphia City SDFels Samuel HS
Philadelphia City SDForrest Edwin School
Philadelphia City SDFrankford HS
Philadelphia City SDFranklin Benjamin HS
Philadelphia City SDFurness Horace HS
Philadelphia City SDHarrington Avery D School
Philadelphia City SDHeston Edward School
Philadelphia City SDKensington Creative & Performing Arts HS
Philadelphia City SDKensington Health Sciences
Philadelphia City SDKensington HS
Philadelphia City SDKing Martin Luther HS
Philadelphia City SDLincoln HS
Philadelphia City SDMastbaum Jules E AVTS
Philadelphia City SDMcKinley William School
Philadelphia City SDMeehan Austin MS
Philadelphia City SDOverbrook HS
Philadelphia City SDParkway Northwest
Philadelphia City SDRandolph A Philip AVT HS
Philadelphia City SDRhodes E Washington School
Philadelphia City SDRoxborough HS
Philadelphia City SDSayre William L MS
Philadelphia City SDSchool of the Future
Philadelphia City SDSouth Philadelphia HS
Philadelphia City SDSteel Edward School
Philadelphia City SDStrawberry Mansion HS
Philadelphia City SDThe Linc
Philadelphia City SDThe SD of Philadelphia Virtual Academy
Philadelphia City SDThe U School: Innovative Lab
Philadelphia City SDThe Workshop School
Philadelphia City SDWagner Gen Louis MS
Philadelphia City SDWashington George HS
Philadelphia City SDWashington Grover Jr School
Philadelphia City SDWest Philadelphia HS
Pittsburgh SDAcademy at Westinghouse
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Allegheny 6-8
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Classical 6-8
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh King K-8
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Langley K-8
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Milliones 6-12
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Morrow K-8
Propel CS-HomesteadPropel CS-Homestead
Reach Cyber CSReach Cyber CS
Reading SDReading Intermediate HS
Reading SDSouthern MS
Steelton-Highspire SDSteelton-Highspire HS
Sto-Rox SDSto Rox ES
Susq-Cyber CSSusq-Cyber CS
The New Academy CSThe New Academy CS
William Penn SDPenn Wood MS
Youth Build Phila CSYouth Build Phila CS

ATSI Schools

LEA NameSchool
21st Century Cyber CS21st Century Cyber CS
Albert Gallatin Area SDAlbert Gallatin Area SHS
Aliquippa SDAliquippa JSHS
Allentown City SDLouis E Dierfuff HS
Allentown City SDWilliam Allen HS
Altoona Area SDAltoona Area HS
Altoona Area SDAltoona Area Jr HS
Ambridge Area SDAmbridge Area HS
Antietam SDAntietam MS/HS
Armstrong SDWest Shamokin JSHS
Athens Area SDAthens Area HS
Bensalem Township SDBensalem Twp HS
Bensalem Township SDRobert K Shafer MS
Bethlehem Area SDFreedom HS
Bethlehem Area SDLiberty HS
Bethlehem-Center SDBethlehem-Center MS
Big Beaver Falls Area SDBeaver Fall MS
Bristol Township SDTruman SHS
Brownsville Area SDBrownsville Area MS
Cameron County SDCameron County JSHS
Canon-McMillan SDCanon-McMillan SHS
Carlynton SDCarlynton JSHS
Centennial SDWilliam Tennent HS
Central York SDCentral York HS
Chambersburg Area SDChambersburg Area SHS
Charter HS for Architecture and DesignCharter HS for Architecture and Design
Chartiers-Houston SDChartiers-Houston JSHS
Cheltenham SDCheltenham HS
Chichester SDChichester SHS
Clairton City SDClairton ES
Clairton City SDClairton MS/HS
Coatesville Area SDCoatesville Area SHS
Coatesville Area SDNorth Brandywine MS
Coatesville Area SDRainbow ES
Coatesville Area SDReeceville ES
Coatesville Area SDSouth Brandywine MS
Collegium CSCollegium CS
Conneaut SDConneaut Area SHS
Connellsville Area SDConnellsville Area MS
Connellsville Area SDConnellsville Area SHS
Conrad Weiser Area SDConrad Weiser HS
Corry AreaCorry Area HS
Crawford Central SDMeadville Area MS
Crawford Central SDMeadville Area SHS
Dallas SDDallas MS
Dallas SDDallas SHS
Daniel Boone Area SDDaniel Boone Area HS
Dover Area SDDover Area HS
Dubois Area SDDubois Area SHS
Dunmore SDDunmore JSHS
East Allegheny SDEast Allegheny JSHS
East Stroudsburg Area SDEast Stroudsburg SHS North
East Stroudsburg Area SDEast Stroudsburg SHS South
Easton Area SDEaston Area MS
Elizabeth Forward SDElizabeth Forward SHS
Farrell Area SDFarrell Area HS/UMS
Freedom Area SDFreedom Area MS
Governor Mifflin SDGovernor Mifflin SHS
Greater Johnstown SDGreater Johnstown MS
Greater Nanticoke Area SDGreater Nanticoke Area SHS
Greensburg Salem SDGreensburg-Salem HS
Greenville Area SDGreenville JSHS
Hanover Area SDHanover Area JSHS
Harrisburg City SDFoose Elementary
Harrisburg City SDScott School
Hazleton Area SDHazleton Area HS
Hazleton Area SDMcAdoo-Kelayres El/MS
Hermitage SDHickory HS
Highlands SDHighlands SHS
Imhotep Institute CHSImhotep Institute CHS
Interboro SDInterboro SHS
Keystone Central SDCentral Mountain HS
KIPP DuBois Charter SchoolKIPP DuBois Charter School
KIPP Philadelphia Charter SchoolKIPP Philadelphia Charter School
Kiski Area SDKISKI Area HS
Lakeland SDLakeland JSHS
Lancaster SDMcCaskey Campus
Lancaster SDPhoenix Academy
Laurel HighlandsLaurel Highland SHS
Lebanon SDLebanon SHS
Lehighton Area SDLeighton Area HS
Manheim Central SDManheim Central SHS
Marion Center Area SDMarion Center Area Jr/Sr HS
McKeesport Area SDMcKeesport Area SHS
Mechanicsburg Area SDMechanicsburg Area SHS
Mid Valley SDMid Valley Secondary Center
Midd-West SDMidd-West HS
Minersville Area SDMinersville Area El Ctr
Monessen City SDMonessen El Ctr
Muhlenberg SDMuhlenberg MS
New Castle Area SDNew Castle JHS
New Kensington-Arnold SDValley JSHS
Norristown Area SDNorristown Area HS
Norristown Area SDRoosevelt Alternative School
Northern Lebanon SDNorthern Lebanon SHS
Northern Tioga SDWilliamson SHS
Northgate SDNorthgate MSHS
Northhampton Area SDNorthhampton Area HS
Octorara Area SDOctorara Area JSHS
Oxford Area SDOxford Area HS
Oxford Area SDPenn's Grove School
Panther Valley SDPanther Valley ES
Panther Valley SDPanther Valley JSHS
Pen Argyl Area SDPen Argyl Area HS
Penn Hills SDPenn Hills SHS
Penn-Delco SDSun Valley HS
Pennsylvania Leadership Charter SchoolPennsylvania Leadership Charter School
Philadelphia City SDAnderson Add B Sch
Philadelphia City SDEmlen Eleanor C Sch
Philadelphia City SDFranklin S Edmonds Sch
Philadelphia City SDHarding Warren G MS
Philadelphia City SDJuniata Park Academy
Philadelphia City SDMayfair School
Philadelphia City SDMotivation HS
Philadelphia City SDNortheast HS
Philadelphia City SDPenn Treaty School
Philadelphia City SDPenrose School
Philadelphia City SDRichmond School
Philadelphia City SDRoosevelt Theodore MS
Philadelphia City SDSaul W B Agricultural School
Philadelphia City SDSpring Garden School
Philadelphia City SDSullivan James J School
Philadelphia City SDSwenson Arts & Technology HS
Philadelphia City SDZiegler William H School
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Allderdice HS
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Brashear HS
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Faison K-5
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Obama 6-12
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Perry HS
Pittsburgh SDPittsburgh Roosevelt K-5
Pittson Area SDPittston Area SHS
Pocono Mountain SDPocono Mountain East HS
Pocono Mountain SDPocono Mountain West JHS
Pocono Mountain SDPocono MountainWest HS
Pocono Mountain SDSwiftwater El Ctr
Portage Area SDPortage Area JSHS
Pottsgrove SDPottsgrove SHS
Pottstown SDPottstown MS
Pottsville Area SDLengel MS
Propel CS - Braddock HillsPropel CS - Braddock Hills
Reading SDReading SHS
Red Lion Area SDRed Lion Area SHS
Ringgold SDRinggold SHS
Scranton SDIsaac Tripp ES
Scranton SDScranton HS
Scranton SDWest Scranton HS
Scranton SDWest Scranton Intermediate School
Shamokin Area SDShamokin Area Intermediate School
Sharon City SDSharon MS
Shenandoah Valley SDShenandoah Valley JSHS
Shikellamy SDShikellamy HS
Shippensburg Area SDJames Burd ES
Solanco SDSolanco HS
South Allegheny SDSouth Allegheny MS/HS
Southeast Delco SDAcademy Park HS
Southern Huntingdon County SDSouthern Huntingdon Co HS/MS
Steel Valley SDSteel Valley MS
Steel Valley SDSteel Valley SHS
Sto-Rox SDSto-Rox JSHS
Stroudsburg Area SDStroudsburg JHS
Sugar Valley Rural CSSugar Valley Rural CS
Tamaqua Area SDTamaqua Area SHS
Tulpehocken Area SDTulpehocken JSHS
Tunkhannock Area SDTunkhannock HS
Turkeyfoot Valley Area SDTurkeyfoot Valley Area JSHS
Uniontown Area SDLafayette MS
Uniontown Area SDUniontown Area SHS
Universal Audenried Charter SchoolUniversal Audenried Charter School
Upper Darby SDBeverly Hills MS
Upper Darby SDCharles Kelly El Sch
Urban Pathways 6-12 CSUrban Pathways 6-12 CS
Wallenpaupack Area SDWallenpaupack Area HS
Washington SDWashington HS
Washington SDWashington Junior High School
Waynesboro Area SDWaynesboro Area SHS
West Branch Area SDWest Branch Area JSHS
West Mifflin Area SDWest Mifflin Area HS
West Mifflin Area SDWest Mifflin Area MS
West Perry SDWest Perry SHS
West Phila. Achievement CESWest Phila. Achievement CES
West Side CTCWest Side CTC
Whitehall-Coplay SDWhitehall HS
Wilkes-Barre Area SDDodson ES
Wilkes-Barre Area SDElmer L Meyers JSHS
Wilkes-Barre Area SDJames M Coughlin JSHS
Wilkes-Barre Area SDSolomon/Plains JHS
William Penn SDPenn Wood HS
Woodland Hills SDWilkins ES
Woodland Hills SDWoodland Hills JSHS
Wyoming Area SDWyoming Area Sec Ctr
Wyoming Valley West SDWyoming Valley West SHS
York City SDWilliam Penn SHS