Northampton AYP numbers decline

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

JACKSON — School officials here are optimistic despite only one out of seven of Northampton County public schools making adequate yearly progress (AYP).

On Tuesday evening, Northampton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy shared the news with members of the Board of Education during a work session.

The preliminary results, released last week, indicate only one (Central Elementary School) of the school district’s seven schools made AYP, which measures the yearly progress of different groups of students at the school, district, and state levels against yearly targets in reading/language arts and mathematics. AYP is part of the No Child Left Behind Act.

This is the fourth year in a row Central Elementary School has met AYP. For 2010, the school met 13 out of 13 target goals set.

Conway Middle School met 17 out of 21 targets (81 percent) for AYP.

Gaston Elementary School just missed making AYP by meeting 11 out of 13 targets (84.6 percent).

Northampton County High School-East did not make AYP, only meeting 9 out of 13 target goals or 69.2 percent.

Squire Elementary School is a K-2 Feeder school and did not make AYP.

Willis Hare Elementary School just missed the mark by meeting 14 out of 17 targets (82.4 percent).

Northampton County High School-West Stem only met 15 out of 25 target goals (60 percent).

The results are preliminary pending the State Board of Education’s approval on August 5.

“We have positives in the fact that five of our seven schools made 81 percent (or more) of their goals,” said Dr. Bracy. “Of course, we won’t be satisfied until we have 100 percent proficiency in all areas and 100 percent of our schools meeting AYP.”

Bracy continued by saying there would be extensive conversations about AYP at the upcoming administrators’ retreat to see if they could develop some skills and additional support to help the district get to 100 percent AYP.

He noted that the district did “dip” with the results from those last year in which the school district had seven of its then 10 schools make AYP.

“We do hope we can get that back up,” he said. “But we certainly applaud Central Elementary School for their 13 out of 13 (target goals met).”

Board member Erica Smith-Ingram said the results seemed like a big dip from last year.

“I’m a little concerned…I’m a little speechless,” said Ingram.

Geneva Squire, CET and student accountability coordinator, said a lot of school districts dipped and she mentioned last year districts were only prepared for 07-08 until last year’s data.

She noted this year schools could use retest scores, but based upon Algebra I and English I for 10th graders.

“This year it’s really more valid because you’re comparing how schools grew when they could use retesting to when they couldn’t use retesting, except the high schools” she said. “You will see another increase (next year) because last year you could not use retest scores.”

Squire attributed the dip not to proficiency, but rather how scores were compared.

“Okay, that’s helpful, but we only have two high schools, most of our schools are middle and elementary—so that’s five schools,” said Ingram. “Let’s just say then there’s one in five, that seems like more of a contrast for me.”

She asked Squire if this year’s scores were after the retest.

Squire said they were.

Ingram noted that the school district was able to retest everybody this year, compared to when they could not in previous years.

“So, that’s why I’m a little bit concerned, because, now, this year everybody could take the test over,” said Ingram. “And if everybody could take the test over and we’re not successful, we only have one in five schools on the primary level, it still doesn’t look good.”

Bracy said there were some school systems nearby that did not make AYP.

“As we know AYP is all or nothing, one subgroup stops you from meeting AYP,” he said. “We make no excuses, yet we have had conversations with our principals and conversations with our staff to get back to that level.”

“But each year the level is higher, the thresh hold is higher, the bar moves up higher,” said Ingram. “That means we got to put in double time next year.”

“Then we will do just that,” said Bracy.

Board member Kelvin Edwards said growth overall was something positive and noted it was all or nothing situation with AYP.

“When we look at the growth I think we need to be celebratory,” he said.

Dr. Bracy said the district’s ABC results will not be official until August 5, but there are many “positives” about the preliminary information he received.

“(Six) of our schools met or exceeded growth,” he said. “We had tremendous gains in our schools, particularly the high schools.”

Bracy noted some schools in the district had back to back years of growth.

He added only one of the schools did not meet growth and would not disclose which school did not because the results were not yet officially released.

Ingram said she thought the board needed to be realistic about the AYP results.

“Still, if you are looking at federal standards, we did not meet them, we did not meet the mark, and now we need to go back and regroup,” she said. “We just need to be honest about things, don’t try to spin them.”

“We’re not happy, but were going to dig back in,” responded Bracy.