Luverne, HHS miss AYP status

Published 11:08 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monday marked the official release date of Alabama Adequate Yearly Progress reports, and two of the county’s three public schools didn’t meet the benchmark set under the No Child Left Behind Act.

That pronouncement comes despite the system meeting a combined 56 of 59 goals between the schools.

“It’s an all-or-nothing world,” said Superintendent Randy Wilkes. “Luverne had its highest test scores ever, 100 percent of the seniors passed the Alabama High School Graduation Exam, and on a four-point scale, they showed 0.3 points of improvement. Yet they did not make AYP.”

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Luverne met 19 of 21 goals, Highland Home met 20 of 21 goals and Brantley met 17 of 17.

Brantley met AYP, while Luverne and Highland Home did not.

The only goals that were not met county-wide were in the areas of special education reading and math.

“Both of those areas showed significant increase,” Wilkes said. “We got better, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Each year, the total test score required to be classified as “proficient” is raised.

The goal under the No Child Left Behind Act is to have each school reaching 100 percent proficiency by 2014.

“It’s like trying to hit a moving target,” Wilkes said. “The require percentage is constantly increasing.”

This marks the second year in a row that Luverne has not met AYP goals, and as a result, the school will enter “School Improvement” (SI).

A letter was sent out earlier this week to parents whose children attend Luverne, explaining that the school did not meet AYP and would enter School Improvement.

One of the consequences is that students enrolled in a school in SI may transfer to another school in the system not in SI.

Some 10 percent of Luverne’s $706,000 in Title I funds must also be set aside for professional development, 20 percent of the Title I funds must be used for transportation, and school improvement personnel must be hired.

Wilkes also said that a plan is in place to make curriculum changes this school year, including transitioning to a college and career readiness curriculum one year ahead of the rest of the state.

“We had 40 teachers meet with regional specialists to develop math pacing guides and common assessments,” Wilkes said.

Students in kindergarten through eighth grade will also be afforded two hours of math and two hours of reading per day, and one hour can be used to help students who have not passed a proficiency test in a certain area.

Overall, Wilkes said he’s pleased with the test results.

“All three of our schools showed significant improvement,” he said. “This isn’t a true reflection of the learning that is going on. Our teachers are doing a good job, and our children are learning.”