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District Program Improvement Parent Information

Although CUSD has an overall Academic Performance Index (API) score of 879, is the highest achieving large school district in California, and ranks fourth in Orange County behind Irvine, Laguna Beach, and Los Alamitos Unified School Districts, the District is currently in Program Improvement (PI) status as mandated under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)/No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

CUSD is one of 22 districts in Orange County that is in PI status.  Districts fall into PI status when the overall tested population, and/or specific subgroups, do not meet targeted proficiency levels in the same content area (English Language Arts or Mathematics) for two consecutive years.  CUSD was identified as a Year One PI District in fall 2010 as a result of both Students with Disabilities and English Learners subgroups not meeting expected proficiency levels in English Language Arts and Mathematics.

At the end of October, all CUSD families received a letter informing them that the District is currently identified as “Program Improvement Year 3” under ESEA and NCLB. Unfortunately, there was an error in the second paragraph. The letter should state that English Language Arts and Math proficient or advanced percentages were near the state proficiency target. All other information in the letter is correct. We apologize for this error and any confusion it has caused.  An updated letter can be found at

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: I am happy with my child’s achievement and school.  Why is CUSD in Program Improvement?

A: Under the ESEA/NCLB law, the proficiency targets are raised each year with the expectation that 100% of students will be proficient or advanced by 2014. While the District maintains high levels of achievement, overall percentages and some subgroup percentages did not reach the expected proficiency targets.

Q: Is it realistic for 100% of students to be proficient or advanced by 2014?

A: Teachers are working to support all students in their academic achievement and this continues to be our goal.  The ESEA/NCLB law has been due for reauthorization since 2007, addressing concerns within the education community that it is not realistic for 100 percent of students to reach expected proficiency level targets. Because the reauthorization of ESEA/NCLB has been delayed, the Federal Government has allowed states to apply for waivers to exempt districts from the sanctions imposed from the initial NCLB legislation. In February, 2012, the first requests for waivers were granted.  Currently, 34 states have approved waivers and 10 states have outstanding requests for waivers, including California. Until a waiver is approved in California, school districts in our state must continue to comply with program improvement sanctions.

Q: I am not happy with my child’s progress.  What should I do?

A: Discuss this with your child’s teacher and/or Principal.

Posted by: CUSD Webmaster Published:10/31/12
Audience: Homepage and Homepage

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Capistrano Unified School District prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying in all district activities, programs, and employment based upon actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, color, religion, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, sex, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Reference: AR 1312.3, BP 1312.3 and BP 5183.

Rich Montgomery, Executive Director, Human Resource Services/Compliance
33122 Valle Road, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 234-9200

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