Adequate Yearly Progress

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2006

City and county schools faring well

By Cassandra Mickens

The Selma Times-Journal

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Last week, Dallas County and Selma City Schools received its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results from the state department of education.

And both systems fared quite well.

A product of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), AYP’s “ultimate goal is for all school districts to be 100 percent in reading and mathematics by the year 2014,” said Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. James Carter.

“The concept itself has a profound meaning to me as a superintendent in that there shouldn’t be any child in your system or in your school that you don’t try to teach to a point where they can achieve at the level of their ability,” Carter said.

“And it doesn’t matter whether the child is a gifted student or a child with a disability – every child should make progress in the school if you’re doing the things it takes to have those students learn.”

According the Alabama Department of Education, “the AYP status of schools and school systems is based on achievement on assessments of the state’s academic content standards, participation rates on these assessments and meeting the Additional Academic Indicators (AAI),” which is determined by attendance rates for elementary and middle schools and graduation and dropout rates for high schools.

The results are then broken down by economic background, race and ethnicity, English proficiency and disability.

Alabama schools and systems have five to 39 AYP goals to meet in one academic year. If a school fails to make just one of its goals, it does not make AYP. If a school does not make AYP for two consecutive years, it is placed on School Improvement status and receives training and assistance from the Alabama School Improvement Initiative to get back on track.

While 10 Selma schools earned 100 percent, only two fell short – Selma Middle CHAT Academy and Phoenix School. CHAT met 16 out of 17 goals, earning a 94.12 percent AYP score. The missed goal – special education students’ attendance for the math test.

Phoenix School, Selma’s alternative program, didn’t meet AYP solely because of poor attendance – a surprise to Carter.

“Phoenix shouldn’t have been counted as part of the accountability portion of our school district because it’s an alternative program,” he said. “However, we’re not going to make any excuses.”

“If they want to include (Phoenix) as part of the accountability process, we’ll make sure all our schools exceed AYP and be proficient long before 2014 comes around.”

Carter went on to mention Selma elementary schools made all of its goals, saying “in grade spans three through give they met 21 of 21 goals, which is 100 percent.”

Carter also relayed good news about two schools specifically.

“Edgewood Elementary was in School Improvement for three or four years. The last two years they made AYP, so this year they have come out of School Improvement,” he said.

“The only school that we have with School Improvement is the School of Discovery. They met AYP this year, but they have to meet it two consecutive years. So even though they made AYP, they’re still in School Improvement delay.”

Carter commended the city school board, principals, teachers, students and parents for their hard work in making Selma City Schools a quality system.

“We’re going to continue to achieve at a higher level. I’m going to require that everybody achieve at a higher level. Of course I set a high standard for myself in terms of what we need to do academically and we just can’t take a backseat to anybody.”

Dallas County Schools

County schools superintendent Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie said the system “demonstrated a great improvement” over last year’s AYP results.

For the exception of Dallas County High, Keith Middle-High and Southside High School, Dallas County Schools earned a 100 percent AYP score, said superintendent Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie.

Dallas County High received an 88.24 percent AYP score, making 15 out of 17 goals.

“Dallas County High School did not show an improvement in their dropout rate and one of their subgroups did not make it – African-Americans in the area of reading,” McKenzie said. “We fell short by 8.24 percent and by virtue of the fact they did not demonstrate a drop in dropout rate, there were two areas where they did not make it.”

McKenzie said Keith Middle-High made it in all academic areas, but like DCHS, the school didn’t show an improvement in their dropout rate. Keith met 12 of its 13 goals, receiving an AYP score of 92 percent.

Keith High principal Grady Broadnax said the school is working on improving its dropout rate, but admits it’s something “you can hardly control.”

“When a child leaves your school, you have to have a transcript as to where that child went, to be able to account for the children,” he said. “So if I had one or two kids say, ‘Well, I’m just going to quit school’ and they didn’t go anywhere, the state counts that person as a dropout.

Broadnax later said, “We’re trying to get them to stay in school, but we need some help from the parents. Like I told a young man, ‘If you’re staying at my house and eating my food, you got to get up and go to school.'”

Lastly, Southside High School met 11 out of its 13 goals – an 85 percent AYP score and “a 69 percent improvement over last year,” said McKenzie.

“They did not make it because 94 percent of their 11th graders participated in the math test as opposed to the required 95 percent participants.”

According to AYP data, Southside did not have adequate 11th grade math test participation for two subgroups – African-Americans and all students, but “they’re really the same students,” McKenzie said.

However, “in all other areas, (Southside) met AYP in terms of their proficiency.”

McKenzie also congratulated principals and teachers for their efforts in meeting AYP.

“We’re very proud of the hard work the teachers have done and the principals and we’re going to continue to work toward improvement.”