Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Pilot Year for Persistently Dangerous Schools and the Unsafe School Choice Option

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Legal Services
Regulatory Authority
20 U.S.C. ยง7912
Response Required
Federal Programs; Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; School Counselors; Data Stewards (SIS; eSchool; eFinance; TRIAND)

Primary Contact Information

Memo Text

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires each state that receives Title I funds to establish and implement a statewide policy which provides that a student who attends a persistently dangerous elementary or secondary school or who becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense while in school or on the school grounds, will be allowed to attend a safe public elementary or secondary school within the local education agency, including a public charter school, if the parent so desires.


The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is establishing a pilot year to explore the Unsafe School Choice Option and data to inform designations of Persistently Dangerous Schools.  Schools are required to report the information above in the School Information System (SIS) as part of the Cycle 7 submission in the 2019-2020 school year.  Accuracy in reporting is of paramount importance because the 2019-2020 data reported will be used to determine which schools fall into the designation of Persistently Dangerous Schools in the 2020-2021 school year. 


Schools are still required to report Persistently Dangerous Schools data under the current definition in SIS.  The Pilot Year data will be collected under ID SC0885 as shown in the attached image.


The attached guidance provides more information on the pilot year, including proposed definitions and requirements for the 2020-2021 school year.  Schools are encouraged to submit feedback to DESE’s Division of Public School Accountability concerning the implementation of this guidance.  Please contact Ms. Otistene Smith at 501-683-5423 or

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