07/19/06 — New year, same result

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New year, same result

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 19, 2006 1:52 PM

Ten of the 31 public schools in Wayne County made adequate progress for the 2005-06 school year, according to a preliminary report released Tuesday by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Of the remainder, 20 schools did not make the list, with insufficient data accounting for the other school.

In the charter school category, Wayne County's only charter school, Dillard Academy, did not make adequate yearly progress, the report said. The school failed to meet its only target goal.

Wayne County Public Schools officials said they were not surprised by the findings, which equalled the number of schools that made AYP the previous year.

"We anticipated a similar number of schools making adequate yearly progress this year" in the measure introduced by the federal legislation No Child Left Behind, said Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent for student accountability.

School officials defended efforts by the school system to meet the requirements despite an increase in the target goals, saying students performed at a steady rate this year.

"We are proud of the hard work demonstrated within schools that hit difficult AYP target goals, but we know there is much work to go. Wayne County Public Schools will not be satisfied until every student is scoring at or above grade level," McFadden said.

Proficiency standards for AYP rise incrementally every three years. AYP is 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.

Preliminary data is subject to change, especially in the elementary and middle schools, where results from the new end-of-grade math tests are not expected to be released until October.

The 10 schools that met 100 percent of their target goals include Edgewood Community Developmental School, Fremont STARS Elementary, Goldsboro Middle, Meadow Lane Elementary, Norwayne Middle, Rosewood High, Rosewood Middle, School Street Elementary, Tommy's Road, and Northeast Elementary schools.

Charles B. Aycock High School was the only school for which data was not yet available.

Explaining the No Child Left Behind data, McFadden said it is important to understand that a school can be labeled as not making AYP based on the performance of a few students in a subgroup. This year, the proficiency standard for third- through eighth-grade reading is 76.79 percent.

In high school, he said, scores for students who have already taken the end-of-course tests in English I, Algebra I and the writing test counted toward AYP. Students who did not take the end-of-course test took the 10th grade comprehensive test to determine AYP.

For high school, the reading standard is 35.4 percent, the math standard 70.8 percent.

The law requires schools not making AYP for two consecutive years to offer students the opportunity to attend a school that made the list. On July 25, the school system will send a letter to parents with a student eligible for the choice option to attend another school in the fall. Requests for school transfer must be made by Aug. 1, with written notification regarding school assignment to be finalized by Aug. 16.

The breakdown of school transfer assignments includes:

-- Students at Brogden Middle, Goldsboro Intermediate and Greenwood Middle schools are eligible to attend Rosewood Elementary, Fremont Elementary, Rosewood Middle, or Norwayne Middle schools.

-- Carver and Eastern Wayne elementary students may choose from Rosewood Elementary, Fremont Elementary or School Street elementary.

-- Brogden Primary, Carver Heights and North Drive students are eligible to attend Fremont or School Street schools.

-- Dillard Middle, Eastern Wayne Middle and Mount Olive Middle students can attend Rosewood or Norwayne Middle schools.

-- Students at Grantham School can transfer to School Street, Fremont, Rosewood Elementary, Rosewood Middle or Norwayne.

-- Spring Creek Elementary School students can attend School Street, Fremont or Rosewood elementary schools.

The school system maintained its commitment to providing a quality education for all students. The challenge of state and federal testing requirements simply means more efforts must be made to meet them, officials said.

"It is the goal of every teacher and administrator to see improvements in our AYP results. Schools are taking the challenge of meeting difficult requirements head on, and we have already identified steps to improve test scores," said schools superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor.

"Teachers and students are working hard to meet the goals. Currently, staff is reviewing test data to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses so they can tailor their teaching to the particular students' needs as part of their school improvement plans."

The school system has already requested assistance from the state and outside consultants. Students will also receive individual educational plans and individual schools have implemented academic strategies and programs, Taylor said.

Efforts are also being made to continue recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers, with staff development being made available as well as an increased focus on literacy to help increase scores, he said.

A further breakdown of the results can be found on the state's Web site at www.ncpublicschools.org.