California Department of Education
Taking Center Stage – Act II

Program Improvement (PI)

Title I funds help schools improve services to disadvantaged students. The California Department of Education (CDE) may designate a school or local educational agency (LEA) that receives federal Title I, Part A, Basic funds as being in Program Improvement if it does not meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) criteria for two consecutive years.

The table below shows the types of services and/or interventions that a school in PI must provide each year that it remains in PI.

Program Improvement Option and Services

Categories of Federal Title I Schools NCLB Options and Services for Students and Parents/Guardians1
Receives Title I funds,
Not in PI
  • School provides support programs to eligible Title I students.
Year 1 in PI
  • Parents or guardians are eligible to send their children to a non-PI school in the LEA and to receive transportation at school district expense.
  • School must revise its school plan within three months.
Year 2 in PI
  • Same services as Year 1 PI school are offered.
  • Supplemental services, such as tutoring, are available for all eligible students.
Year 3 in PI
  • Same services as Year 2 PI school are offered.
  • School district provides corrective action to improve the school.
Year 4 in PI
  • Same services as Year 3 PI school are offered.
  • School must develop new alternative governance plan.
Year 5 in PI
  • Same services as Year 4 PI school are offered.
  • School must implement its alternative governance plan.

Schools and districts in PI may conduct an extensive review of their policies and programs using one of two instruments:

  • The Academic Program Survey (APS)—Middle School Level. The CDE recommends that any school in Program Improvement should complete an APS. The APS guides schools and districts in collecting and analyzing disaggregated data to highlight the achievement gaps that require strategic interventions. The following CDE Web pages provide more details about the survey:

    • APS Introduction
    • State Program Assessment Tools

  • The District Assistance Survey (DAS). Districts in PI and those at risk of being placed in PI can use the DAS to assess district-level support for schools and areas needing improvement.

Based on findings from the APS or DAS and the recommendations of any external assistance provider, the school or district team develops an action plan to raise the academic achievement of students. Setting academic objectives for a two-year period helps the school staff members to work toward making adequate progress on growth targets. The school action plan focuses on:

  • Improving student academic performance
  • Improving the involvement of parents and guardians
  • Improving the allocation of resources and management of the school
  • Identifying and developing solutions that take into account the underlying causes of low student performance
  • Providing high-quality staff development for its teachers

A school or local educational agency is eligible to exit PI if it makes adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years.

Related Links

Performance levels

Federal requirements for English learners

1Overview of the 2005-06 Accountability Progress Reporting System, Sacramento: California Department of Education, 2006, 4.

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