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Selma schools do well on progress report

For the Selma City School System, Monday seemed wonderful; the Dallas County School System dealt with some aftermath as the Alabama Department of Education announced its 2008 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report.

The Selma City School System’s schools all made AYP for the 2008. In The Dallas County system, four schools, including Dallas County High School, Southside High School and Keith Middle-High School and Brantley Elementary School, all failed to make the mandated score.

Even Dr. Joe Morton, state superintendent of education, who visited Selma Monday evening, commented on the Selma system’s AYP report.

“Today, 83 percent of our public schools made AYP and Selma City Schools were in that percentage,” he said to thunderous applause.

Selma City Schools’ interim superintendent Verdell Lett Dawson was very pleased with the announcement.

“I am so elated with the progress the school system made in one year!” Dawson said. “All of our schools including Selma High School made AYP. I would like to extend a deserving ‘thank you and job-well-done’ to all of our principals, teachers, students, parents, support staff and community members who have made a difference in our school system.”

Selma High School did not make AYP in 2007.

It was important for the school to make the grade this year.

Schools that don’t meet AYP are required to take corrective steps and are placed in different categories depending on their situation. Those that don’t make AYP for one year are put on notice but don’t have to take any specific steps.

Schools that fail for two consecutive years are labeled as needing “school improvement.” Parents whose children attend Title 1 schools that are marked for school improvement have the option of transferring their students to higher performing schools in the district.

Schools that fail to meet AYP for two years are required by the No Child Left Behind Act to offer after-school tutoring and allow students to transfer to better-performing schools.

The DCSS did make AYP as a whole, but there will be work to do in the coming year to bring the three failing schools into the fold.

Dallas County High School met 14 of the 17 mandated goals. This is also the fourth year the school in “improvement” status. The problem according to AYP data is in the reading field. The school passed all elements in the math field.

At Keith School, they met 12 of their 13 goals for the year.

Southside High School is now in year one of its improvement and it failed to meet its 12 goals by only achieving nine.

Brantley Elementary School also missed AYP by one goal by completing 12 of its 13 goals.

Barbara Stapp-Hiouas, president of the Selma City School Board, said she was pleased with the results.

“I think it’s a real feather in Dr. Dawson’s cap for the high school to make AYP,” she said. “We know, as a system, we have a long way to go, and this is only the beginning.”

Attempts to reach DCSS superintendent Fannie Major-McKenzie were unsuccessful before press time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.