Any school or school district that receives federal Title 1 funds (those provided to schools and districts to better serve a significant population of low-income students) and that does not meet their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals for two years in a row is considered in Program Improvement.
For each year that a school or district is in Program Improvement, there are specific changes that must be made and/or services that must be provided to the students. For example, in the second year of Program Improvement and every year after that, a school or district must offer extra academic support for free to low-income students who need it (called Supplemental Educational Services). In year five, a school must make significant changes such as replacing all or most of the staff including the principal; reopen the school as a charter school or under the management of an outside organization; or make other significant changes.
Throughout the entire process of a school or district being in Program Improvement, there are specific requirements for notifying parents of their rights and choices. In particular, parents have the right to transfer their student to another school within the district that is not in Program Improvement.
Schools and districts exit Program Improvement after making Adequate Yearly Progress for two years in a row.