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Dallas County Schools not achieve AYP status

The Dallas County School system and seven of 13 schools did not meet the Alabama Yearly Progress report, AYP, but that will not define the system.

“I’m not going to describe my schools in four words,” said Superintendent Fannie Major-McKenzie.

However, these words, “did not make AYP” will identify the system for this year.

“Even though we might have missed the mark in one area, did we grow?” Major-McKenzie asked. “Are we making progress? Are we moving in the right direction?”

She continued, “And the answer to that is yes.”

The schools not to make AYP are Brantley Elementary School, 14 of 15 goals; Dallas County High School, 16 of 17 goals; Five Points Elementary School, 12 of 13 goals; Salem Elementary School, 12 of 13 goals; Southside High School, 8 of 13 goals; Southside Primary School, 15 of 17 goals and Bruce K. Craig Elementary School, 15 of 17 goals.

Of these schools, two were not assessed on their own. Because Salem Elementary and Southside Primary are only kindergarten through second grade, and standardized testing does not start until third grade, the schools are assessed as part of their feeder schools.

Salem students move to Five Points for third through sixth grade and Southside Primary students move to Bruce K. Craig for third through fifth grade. If the feeder school does not make AYP, then the former school does not make AYP. Results for these schools mirror their corresponding school.

The elementary schools met 19 of 21 goals for both this year and last year remaining stagnant in results; middle schools met 19 of 21 goals, decreasing in both math and reading and the high schools decreased to 14 of 17 goals, decreasing only in reading goals.

Although the system needs improvements, Latonya Bender, parent of two students in the system and 1991 alumna of Southside High School, is proud of the system.

“I think that’s very positive that they got close like that,” Bender said.

She believes student success is the responsibly of teachers and parents, so the AYP results reflect both.

“It just takes everybody involved to do well,” Bender said. “[Parents] need to come out to the schools and see what’s going on with their children. That’s a must. That’s how you make sure everything gets done.”

The schools did see improvements this year.

Dallas County High School increased its graduation rate by 9 percent, Southside High School increase by 12 percent, Keith High School maintained its graduation rate for a system-wide improvement from the 71.22 graduation percentage for the system from last year to 79.38 percent for this year.

“The goal is always to try to meet the standards that are set, no matter what you think about them, the goal is always to meet those,” Major-McKenzie said. “But, I feel we still must celebrate our successes because so many of our teachers and administrators work very hard and are very sensitive about AYP, and understandably so.”

The schools to make AYP are J.E. Terry Elementary School, Keith Middle-High School, Shiloh Elementary School, Tipton Durant Middle School, Valley Grande Elementary School and William R. Martin Middle School.

Standardized test scores from assessments such as the Alabama Reading and Math Test, student participation, attendance and graduation rate determine the results of AYP. If a school does not pass one or more categories, it is placed on a “school improvement” list. To be removed from the list, a school must pass AYP two consecutive years.

This standard is part of the No Child Left Behind initiative to have all schools and systems achieve 100 percent of their accountability goals each year in reading, math and other factors such as attendance or dropout rate.

To view the reports, visit the state department’s website (www.alsde.edu) and click on “Accountability Reporting.”