School Improvement

Definitions of Priority, Focus, and Reward Schools

Priority Schools
A Priority school is a school that has been identified as among the lowest-performing five percent of Title I schools in the state over the past three years, or any non-Title I school that would otherwise have met the same criteria. There are 75 Priority Schools.

The types of Priority Schools are—

  • Lowest-Performing: schools with the lowest school-wide proficiency rates in the state. Priority schools in this category have an overall three-year proficiency rate of 31.6% or lower.
  • SIG school: schools that are part of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program


Focus Schools
A Focus School is a school that has room for improvement in areas that are specific to the school. As part of the process, Focus Schools will receive targeted and tailored solutions to meet the school’s unique needs. There are 183 Focus schools. The types of Focus schools are—

  • Low Graduation Rates: High schools with a 2011 graduation rate lower than 75%.
  • Largest Within-School Gaps: schools with the largest in-school proficiency gap between the highest-performing subgroup and the combined proficiency of the two lowest-performing subgroups. Schools in this category have a proficiency gap between these subgroups of 43.5 percentage points or higher.
  • Lowest Subgroup Performance: schools whose two lowest-performing subgroups rank among the lowest combined proficiency rates in the state. Schools in this category have an overall proficiency rate for these lowest-performing subgroups of 29.2% or lower.


Reward Schools
A Reward School is a school with outstanding student achievement or growth over the past three years. There are 112 Reward Schools. The types of Reward Schools are—

  • Highest-Performing: schools that are the highest-performing in the state, in terms of school-wide proficiency, subgroup proficiency, and graduation rates.
  • Highest-Progress: schools that have high levels of student growth, measured using their median Student Growth Percentiles (SGP) over time.