Officials say list not accurate indicator

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 12, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

Local officials say the School Improvement List released this week is not a fair representation of how their schools performed.

In fact, they say three of the seven local schools on the list &045; Edgewood Elementary, Tipton Middle School, and Salem Primary School &045; made their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements during the previous school year.

According to Penny Williams, Coordinator of Testing and Guidance and Counseling for the Selma City School System, even when a school on the School Improvement list meets its APY goal, it must remain on the list for another year.

Tipton Middle School and Salem Primary School in the Dallas County School System are also in the delayed category.

In a report released this week by the Alabama Department of Education, five schools in the Dallas County system and two schools in the Selma City system were on the School Improvement list.

Under the No Child Left Behind Act, public schools must be evaluated in the categories of reading, math, and either attendance for elementary schools or drop-out rate for high schools.

Public schools could have between five to 39 AYP goals, according to the state.

If a school misses even one goal, according to federal guidelines, it is not considered to have met AYP.

Schools that fail to meet AYP for two years in a row are placed on the School Improvement list and must begin a process to address the problem, including providing tutoring and after-school programs.

The School of Discovery Genesis Center in the city school system, for example, met 10 out of its required 13 goals.

Williams said the school did not meet its reading goals in the subcategories of black students and free/reduced lunch students.

In the Dallas County School System, Brantley Elementary met 12 of its 17 goals. The school did not accomplish its requirements in reading and math assessment, and attendance.

Five Points Elementary School met 10 of its 13 goals. All of the misses came in the math subcategories.

Southside High School only met one of its 15 goals, falling short in every category except the drop-out rate.

Both Williams and Major-McKenzie said parents who would like to transfer their child to a school that is not on the School Improvement list has an option to do so.

But Major-McKenzie said students can and do get quality educations at the schools, even if they are on the list.