“In order for a school system not to make AYP, the state looks at three grade spans in the areas of reading and mathematics,” said St. Clair Schools Superintendent Jenny Seals. “The grade spans are 3-5, 6-8 and high school. However, No Child Left Behind also focuses on subgroups of 40 or more students, such as White, Black, Hispanic, Free and Reduced Lunch, ELL and Special Education as well as the large group category known as All Students.
“Our system made AYP in the All Students category and in all but one of the subgroups. However, we did not make AYP in the subgroup of Special Education for Reading in 3-5, 6-8 and high school or Math in 3-5 or high school. Stated simply, this means that this subgroup did not perform at grade leveling those grade spans.”
Schools in the St. Clair County School System not making AYP included Ashville Middle School (95.240); Moody Middle School (95.24); Moody High School (90.91): Springville Elementary School (94.12) and Ashville High School (80).
Seals said the goals for each grade level are increasing each year until 2014 when 100 percent of the students in the state of Alabama will be expected to be performing at or above grade level.
“This is a challenge all public schools in the state are facing,” said Seals. Our system held our annual St. Clair County Administrators’ Retreat recently and I allocated time in the schedule for all of us to study the data together and look at different ways to address the issues that we are facing.
“Our plans are for remediation and more strategic teaching for that special education subgroup. The benchmark to make AYP went up and as a whole, our school system made 23 out of 25 goals.”
In Pell City, the School System failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act for the first time ever.
“No doubt, we’re disappointed,” Assistant Schools Superintendent Michael Barber said.
Barber said both Williams Intermediate and Pell City High School have a large population of special education students.
Both schools failed to meet 2009-2010 AYP.
“It’s a challenge,” Barber said, adding, “We have good schools and good students.”
Failure to meet AYP can affect federal funding for Title I schools, but Barber said Williams Intermediate and Pell City High are not Title I funded schools.
Barber said the high school was on “School Improvement” status for the past four years. In 2009, the high school met AYP and needed to make AYP this year to be removed from School Improvement status. Now it will be at least two more years before the high school can come off the state School Improvement list.
He said the state support team will come in and assist both schools in reaching all AYP goals in the future.
Barber said Williams Intermediate and the high school only missed AYP by one goal each. Williams Intermediate met 20 of 21 goals, while the high school met 12 or 13 AYP goals.
“But you have to make all of them,” he said.
The high school and intermediate school did not make AYP for reading but made AYP for mathematics, according to 2009-2010 AYP data provided by the Alabama Department of Education.
Duran North, Duran South, Eden, Coosa Valley and Walter M. Kennedy Elementary schools made AYP for both reading and math.
The high school also exceeded the AYP graduation rate goal, which was 90 percent. The high school recorded a 92 percent graduation rate for the 2009-2010 AYP.
All Pell City schools exceeded the AYP attendance rate goals.
“As the deadline of 2014 gets closer, the requirement of perfection gets closer,” said Dr. Joe Morton, state superintendent of education. “Having the requirement of No Child Left Behind that every students in America be proficient in reading and mathematics is very difficult than the goal aspiring that every student hit that mark.
“Every year the bar gets higher and higher and every year Alabama students show improvement. The challenge is to have our improvement trajectory be the same increase as the annual goal requirement trajectory. “
Seals did say that on a more positive note, the graduation rate increased from 84 last school year to 87 this school year.
“I was very excited to learn that our schools that had been in School Improvement (Moody High and Springville High) are no longer in that category,” Seals said. “They had to meet the Graduation Rate goal for two years in order to come out of School Improvement.
“Also, Odenville Elementary School and Odenville Intermediate School made AYP this year and will not be going into School Improvement. I am extremely pleased that we are able to begin this school year with none of our schools in School Improvement.”
“We are so proud we made adequate yearly progress,” said Constance Seymour, principal of Odenville Intermediate School. “This goal could not have been accomplished without the diligent hard work of our teachers and students. The educators at our school fill each day with inspiring, creative, and motivating lessons which meet and exceed Alabama Course of Study standards.
“Our 21 goals were accomplished with the dedication of our school’s teachers, staff, students, and supportive parental community. Now with our teachers, staff, students and parents, we look forward to making the 2010-2011 school year even more successful and fulfilling. As a community, Odenville Elementary, Odenville Intermediate, Odenville Middle School, and St. Clair County High School will work together to achieve our common goal of student excellence. As the principal of Odenville Intermediate, I am proud to be associated with such a wonderful group of educators.”
Seals said as she looks toward another school year beginning, she is committed to celebrating accomplishments and working to improve in all necessary categories.
— Staff writer David Atchison contributed to this story.
Contact Gary Hanner at firstname.lastname@example.org.