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County schools fall short in AYP

The Alabama Department of Education released its annual adequate yearly progress (AYP) report Monday, detailing which state schools met this year’s AYP goals.

In Pike County, the Pike County School system failed to make AYP, while the Troy City School system did make AYP.

On a school-by-school basis, Pike County High School, Banks School, Pike County Elementary School, Goshen Elemntary School, Charles Henderson Middle School and Charles Henderson High School not only all made AYP, but also met 100% of their annual goals. Goshen High School and Troy Elementary School did not make AYP.

AYP is based mostly upon measured progress in reading and mathematics across three grade spans.

PCS did not make reading AYP in any of the three grade spans, which were third through fifth, sixth through eighth and high school. PCS also missed AYP in third to fifth grade mathematics.

“The results were kind of a mixed bag for us this year,” sad PCS superintendent Mark Bazzell. “We saw some positive things, but obviously, we also saw some things we need to address.”

At the third to fifth grade level, PCS special education students did not meet proficiency goals for both reading and mathematics, while sixth to eighth grade PCS special education students did not meet their reading proficiency goals.

At the high school level, PCS missed reading AYP for all students. This was due in large part to black students and students who received free and reduced meals failing to meet reading proficiency goals.

TCS, meanwhile, only missed AYP in the area of third through fifth grade reading.

However, that one missed mark was enough to keep Troy Elementary School from making AYP as a school.

“It’s disappointing when just one goal keeps a school from making AYP, but that doesn’t discount all the hard work they put in,” said TCS superintendent Linda-Felton Smith. “As this AYP bar is raised, we will continue to do the best we can possibly do. We’ll continue to provide top-level whole group instruction, as well as as much one-on-one time as we possibly can. We know our teachers worked very, very hard, as did our students this year. We will continue to work hard to meet these objectives in the future as well.”

TES failed to meet its reading proficiency goals for special education, which caused it to fall short of AYP.

For PCS, Goshen High School failed to make AYP as a school after it failed to meet its reading proficiency goals for black students.

“At Goshen High School, we’ll get into analyzing those results, and we’ll be able to drill down to a student by student level with those results,” Bazzell said. “We had some issues with student performance, particularly with special education students and minority students there at Goshen.”

Special education was also an area of concern for TCS, and Felton-Smith said there are already actions being taken to help the system improve its performance in that area.

“What we’re doing is we’re already making adjustments to our schedule so that we can provide even more instructional time with our students,” Felton-Smith said. “And, for the students who need a little bit of extra attention, we will be providing intervention programs, as well as additional instruction by means of tier two and tier three instruction.”

Bazzell said PCS has also taken steps to improve its special education offerings.

“We have already taken some steps to provide some additional support at Goshen High School, and we’ll be looking carefully at our special education programs and how we can improve them as best we can in the near future,” Bazzell said.

Both superintendents said making AYP is becoming more and more difficult, as standards continue to be raised. Formerly, AYP benchmarks were raised every two years, but this year marked the first time AYP standards had been raised with just one school year since the previous increase.

“Between now and 2014, we have to meet goals of 100% annual measurable objective,” Felton-Smith said. “With the bar being raised, if we fail to meet just one goal, then we have failed to meet AYP for that school.”

Bazzell said with the increases coming more rapidly, there is little time to dwell on poor performances or celebrate good ones.

“I think the lesson we can take from this all the way down to the classroom level is that we can’t get satisfied with the progress we have made,” Bazzell said. “We’ve done fairly well, but as that benchmark continues to move, if we get complacent, sooner or later it will catch up with you. If we expect to keep pace, some programs in some schools are going to have to do a better job.”