Local schools’ progress ‘adequate’

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

School District 55 made adequate progress last school year in meeting No Child Left Behind requirements nearly everywhere throughout the district, according to a preliminary report released on July 31.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools, districts and states to make “adequate yearly progress” toward a goal of having all students meet rigorous state academic standards by the 2013-14 school year.

Each year, the performance of all students in each school and district, including subgroups of students, is measured against increasing annual performance targets. States are required to identify schools and districts receiving federal Title I funds that do not meet adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years in the same content area.

In the 2007-08 school year, every school in District 55 except Sweet Home High School met the targets, which is a percentage of the students meeting or exceeding state testing benchmarks.

Supt. Larry Horton said he hadn’t had a chance to look at the data in detail yet, but district administrators plan to meet at a retreat on Aug. 18 to review data from the annual yearly progress report and state testing data.

“We made adequate yearly progress on virtually all areas except at the high school,” Horton said.

SHHS missed the target among high school students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students in math. The target was 59 percent of all students meeting or exceeding the testing standard. Among the economically disadvantaged, 48 percent met the standard while 40 percent of students with disabilities met the standard.

Students with disabilities fell under a target of 60 percent in reading, with 51 percent meeting or exceeding the state standard.

The district also failed to meet the standard in attendance with students with disabilities in grades six through eight. Under NCLB, the district was required to have an attendance rating of at least 92 percent. The district had an attendance rate of 91.9 percent. The district met the requirement in all other areas of attendance.

“Needless to say, those two groups are pretty difficult to get up to grade level, up to standards,” Horton said. “And we’re working on it. I know my staff is continuing to help each child move up as fast and as far as they possibly can (with the goal of all children meeting the standard).”

By comparison, the district far exceeded the targets at the elementary level, with close to 90 percent meeting or exceeding the standard against a target of 60 percent in reading. At the middle school level, about 82 percent of students met or exceeded the standards.

In math, the district had a target of 59 percent meeting or exceeding the state benchmarks. At the elementary level, more than 75 percent met that standard, and at the middle school level, almost 85 percent met the standard.

Overall at the high school level, the district met the annual yearly progress targets, with 60.3 of all students meeting the standard in math and 71 percent reaching the standard in reading.

The district also made adequate yearly progress in graduations.

Statewide, the number of schools making adequate yearly progress decreased as the annual target for meeting the standard increased by 10 percentage points, up from 50 percent for reading and 49 percent for math in 2006-07.

Across the state, 61.3 percent of schools, 758 out of 1,237, made adequate yearly progress. Last school year, 74 percent met the mark.

“This information highlights the urgent work we need to do to make sure students are meeting standards at every grade,” said state schools Supt. Susan Castillo. “As Oregon implements the new diploma standards, we are creating more tools to help us move forward faster. At every grade, educators will need to check progress to make sure students get the targeted support they need to stay on course to graduation.”

“The department continues to work to develop Oregon’s growth model, so we can track the progress of each student and provide even better information for teachers. We have raised our expectations for students and schools, now we must provide the funding needed to meet the challenge. I will work with the Governor, Legislative leadership and our partners to see that our schools have the funds they need to ensure that students succeed at every grade.”

One of the purposes of the Preliminary AYP Report is to identify schools needing improvement, especially those serving a high percentage of children in poverty and receiving federal funds under Title I. School districts must inform parents and communities about schools identified as needing improvement.

This year, 36 Title I schools were designated as being in need of school improvement – that is, they did not meet goals for at least two consecutive years in the same subject. Schools that receive Title I funds and do not make AYP are required to provide parents with the opportunity to transfer to another school in the district that meets AYP. Title I schools that do not make AYP for a third consecutive year must provide students with supplemental services, such as tutoring or after-school assistance.

Schools that do not meet AYP targets for four years are required to prepare a plan to take one of several corrective actions, such as replacement of all or most staff, contracting with an outside entity to operate the school, reopening the school as a public charter school or restructuring the school’s governance. After five years, they must implement the plan.

The Salem-Keizer School District has two schools in the fourth year and one in its fifth year of missing AYP targets. Woodburn has one school in its seventh year of not meeting the target and one school in its fourth year.