• By Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed. • IDRA Newsletter • October 2007

Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.A number of schools have sent a report to families stating, “We are not achieving the annual yearly progress that we should” (according to the No Child Left Behind Act guidelines). What else must schools do?

In cases where this has happened three years in a row or more, schools that are not meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP) must give families information about other public schools within the district that are making adequate yearly progress and to which it might be practical, useful and advantageous to send their children.


Schools also must inform families about the additional services being provided to children within the current school to support their academic achievement.

Under NCLB, schools receiving Title I funds must use their federal funds to make needed improvements. In the event of a school’s continued poor performance, parents have options to ensure that their children receive the high quality education to which they are entitled. This might mean that their children can: (1) transfer to higher performing schools in the area, or (2) receive supplemental educational services in the community, such as tutoring, after-school programs or remedial classes.

Schools Informing Families

School staff (especially family liaison personnel) should inform families who want to look for another school about some key things to look for in a possible campus. The checklist below by the Minnesota Department of Education, Office of Choice and Innovation is a useful tool.

10 Things to Look for in a School

  • High expectations,
  • Busy students,
  • Great teachers,
  • Great principal,
  • Vibrant parent-teacher organization,
  • Children are neither invisible nor scared to be at school,
  • Gut reaction that this is the school for your child,
  • Rigorous curriculum,
  • Families like yours are welcome, and their concerns are acknowledged, and
  • You are satisfied with the school’s results on standardized tests and school report cards.

For families that choose to keep their children at their current school, there are several key things that school personnel can suggest to families:

  • Look for what is working well at the school. Identify, connect to and support whatever is succeeding.
  • Identify extra resources that exist and make sure your children get the support they need to succeed.
  • Connect to and participate in school activities that will support the success of your children as well as the other students.
  • Let the administrators and teachers know you care and are not giving up on the children or the school.

Parent Online Resources

The NCLB rules and regulations itemize several other important things a family can do to ensure an equitable and excellent education for their children. Resources online that school leaders can guide families to are listed below. A handout version of this list is available on the IDRA web site (www.idra.org).

  • Choosing a School for Your Child
    Publication ID: ED002266P
    Offers step-by-step advice to parents on how to choose among the schools available to their children and identifies important factors to consider before making a decision. This booklet explains some of the public school choices now available in many communities and covers private school options that also may be available. It also highlights new options provided under NCLB.
  • Extra Help for Student Success
    Brochure, Publication ID: ED002261H
    Provides information about Supplemental Educational Services under NCLB. This brochure explains what supplemental educational services are, who can get these services, how to know if a child is eligible, how to find a good supplemental educational services program, what happens after a provider is selected, and how to get additional information about the program.
  • 10 Tips for Parents Who Choose to Stay Put
    By the Center for Parent Leadership
    What happens to parents who choose to keep their children in their neighborhood school? What can they do to secure a better education for their child? Here are 10 specific options for parents.
  • As a Parent, Here Are 12 Things You Should Know About and Expect from Your Schools… and Yourself
    Five pages of key and useful ideas a parent must consider to support excellent education for all children.

Continued Improvement of Schools

The information about other schools and about tutoring and other services that students receive does not replace or reduce the responsibility of the campus to improve the curriculum and instructional program offered. The wake-up call of the federal- and state-required campus report cards must be to not give up or despair but to accelerate the ability to provide an excellent education for all children.

The success of children depends on the excellence of the basic curriculum and the quality of instruction of the neighborhood public school. Even if there are viable options for particular families to choose other campuses, the families and community in the immediate vicinity of the targeted school must ensure that they have an excellent neighborhood public school – one that provides the best possible academic program and an array of learning choices and experiences ensuring that every child will be ahead.

Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed, is an IDRA senior education associate and director of the Texas IDRA Parent Information and Resource Center. He also serves on the national board of PTA. Comments and questions may be directed to him via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©2007, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the October 2007 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]