07/21/09 — 28 of 32 schools meet AYP standard

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28 of 32 schools meet AYP standard

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 21, 2009 1:46 PM

For the second year in a row, Wayne County Public Schools had its highest number of schools to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind requirements.

Preliminary results for 2008-09 were released today by the state's Department of Public Instruction.

According to the report, the school district met 98.2 percent of its total NCLB target goals, a nearly 10 percent increase from the previous year. Twenty-eight of the 32 schools made AYP, a marked increase from the year before.

"During the 2007-08 school year, the district had 17 schools achieve AYP and met 429 of their 495 NCBL target goals, despite NCLB standards being made more difficult for school districts across the nation," said Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent of accountability and student services. "To have nearly every school in the district make AYP this past school year, with 545 of 555 NCBL goals being met, shows that the district's efforts to improve student performance are paying off."

The four schools not making AYP included alternative school Belfast Academy, Goldsboro High, Rosewood Elementary and Spring Creek High. Results for the other alternative school, Southern Academy, were not determined. Spring Creek met 97.6 percent of its goals, while Rosewood met 95 percent of its goals, Goldsboro had 53.8 percent and Belfast made 50 percent.

Under the NCLB requirements, 60 more target goals were added this past school year.

To achieve AYP, a school must meet 100 percent of its target goals. Schools are divided into 10 possible subgroups -- the school as a whole, white, black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, multiracial, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient and students with disabilities. Each subgroup must have at least 40 students.

To make AYP, each subgroup in the tested grade area must meet proficiency targets in reading/language arts and math. School attendance and graduation rates also factor into it, and the number of target goals at each school are determined by the number of subgroups.

"There is no 'cookie cutter' approach to improving student performance. Because every student has different needs or difficulties in the classroom, strategies must be specially tailored through PEPs, or Personalized Education Plans, to address the challenges of each individual student," Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said. "Teachers, staff and administrators also put in countless hours inside and outside of the classroom to implement effective strategies that are proven to help students become academically successful."

Having volunteers and community groups support the schools' efforts by tutoring and serving as mentors has helped immensely, along with its other partners, Taylor added.

"The Board of Education's support of initiatives and programs has been instrumental in helping our schools improve student achievement. We also appreciate the Wayne County Board of Commissioners supporting our elementary schools by funding summer school for grades K-2 for the past two years, as well as a second 'Wee Wings' mobile pre-K bus," he said.

No Child Left Behind requires local districts to make preliminary AYP results available to parents, especially in cases of Title I schools where families will be given the option of transferring to another school or receiving supplemental services, such as tutoring, in the coming year.

Despite the reported progress, administrators say there is still much more work to be done, and efforts will be to improve even more in the year ahead.

"To build on the successes in the classroom, our schools will assess all of their programs and initiatives to best ensure student subgroups make continued gains in the coming year. Our administrators will also continue working with those schools that did not make AYP, and help them address challenges in meeting NCBL goals," Taylor said.

Final AYP results are expected to be approved by the state Board of Education at its meeting Aug. 6.