07/19/05 — Grading Schools - Adequate progress made by 10 schools

View Archive

Grading Schools - Adequate progress made by 10 schools

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on July 19, 2005 1:48 PM

Ten Wayne County schools made adequate progress in the past year, according to a preliminary Adequate Yearly Progress report released by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Fourteen schools did not.

Results for seven schools, including all of the county's high schools are pending, said state officials, who released the report this week.

Wayne County school officials said that the high school information is taking more time to compile because the state converted to a new student data management system over the past year.

Linda Fuller, public information officer for the state De-partment of Public Instruc-tion, said the state posted preliminary results on its Web site based on information provided by local school systems.

"This gives people the chance to see how other schools near them are doing," Ms. Fuller said.

Official results are expected to be released in early August.

According to the report, Wayne County students made steady progress in the areas set by the federal No Child Left Behind requirements despite an increase in the target goals.

"We anticipated a number of schools making adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind," said Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent for student accountability. "In holding our own in a year where the bar has gone up, we consider it a positive. But we are not happy until every student is scoring at or above grade level."

Proficiency standards for AYP rise incrementally every three years. AYP is only one assessment used to gauge academic progress at schools. Under the model, students are classified into 10 categories, and a school may have multiple subgroups.

A single subgroup can cause a school not to make AYP.

"In looking at No Child Left Behind data, people need to understand a school can be labeled as not making AYP based on the performance of a very few students in one subgroup," said Dr. McFadden.

This year, the proficiency standard for 3-8 reading rose from 68.9 percent to 76.7 percent. In math, it rose from 74.6 percent to 81 percent. The biggest change comes in high school where for the first time, scores for students who have already taken the End-of-Course (EOC) tests in English 1, Algebra I, and the writing test, counted for AYP purposes. Those students who did not take the EOCs took the 10th grade comprehensive test to determine AYP. For high school, the reading standard was 35.4 percent, and the math standard was 70.8 percent.

School Superintendent Steve Taylor said the school system wants to see improvements in the results.

"We will work harder to meet these requirements, and we have already identified steps to improve," he said. "Our dramatic increases in the past several years is evidence that our staff and students are continuing in their efforts to respond to rigorous requirements."

McFadden said that teachers and staff work hard to review test data, pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses to better tailor teaching to the particular students' needs as part of the school improvement plans. Students receive individual educational plans, and continual staff development and an increased focus on literacy will help increase scores, he said.

The school system has also requested assistance from the state and outside consultants, and continues its efforts to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers.

As required by law, schools that did not make AYP for two consecutive years must offer students the opportunity to attend a school that did make AYP. Later this week, the school system will send a letter to parents who have a student eligible under the choice option to attend another school.

Parents must return requests for school transfer forms to the school by July 28. They will receive written notification from the district regarding school assignment by August 12.

The following schools were listed as having the option to transfer:

Students at Brogden Primary are eligible to attend Carver Heights Elementary or School Street Elementary; Carver Elementary, Eastern Wayne Elementary, Brogden Middle, Goldsboro Middle, Mt. Olive Middle, Grantham School, Greenwood Middle, or North Drive Elementary are eligible for supplemental services, or can elect to attend Carver Heights Elementary, School Street Elementary, Norwayne Middle, or Rosewood Middle School; students at Dillard Middle School can receive supplemental services or choose to attend Norwayne or Rosewood Middle School.

An outside expert is also in place to implement corrective action strategies at Dillard Middle School.

Dr. Taylor said the school system is committed to providing a quality education for all students.

"In a time when state and local education funds are being cut, it is important to continue to adequately fund our schools," he said.