Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2007

Starside achieves reading progress

September 13, 2007

Preliminary results from the Kansas Department of Education show that one USD 232 school did not meet adequate yearly progress as mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Law.

Monticello Trails Middle School did not meet AYP in math as a result of lagging scores in one of its subgroups, but the district did not release the exact subgroups or its score. Subgroups include students who are learning English or those from lower-income families.

The district had one noteworthy success when Starside Elementary School in De Soto was not listed among the schools failing to make AYP. That means the school overcame the challenge of a large Hispanic and low-income enrollment to improve reading test scores that landed it on the non-performing list last year.

The school used state assessment scores and results from other assessments to determine where students were at and work with them on areas where they needed help, said Kim Barney, coordinator of learning services for the district.

In reading, the district strived to achieve a proficiency target of 69.5 percent for third- through eighth-graders and 65 percent for high school students. In math, the proficiency target was 66.8 percent for third- through eighth-graders and 55.7 percent for high school students.

No Child Left Behind requires standards to increase every year until 2014, when 100 percent of students must be proficient in reading and math.

Preliminary districtwide results for De Soto show that the district as a whole did make AYP with all students achieving 89 percent in reading and 86.9 percent in math. This is a 3.5 percent increase from last year in the district's reading scores and a 4.3 percent increase in the district's math scores.

Monticello Trails Middle School Principal Tobie Waldeck said the school had classes in place to target students who are struggling. One of them is called discovery math and it assists students with areas of weakness to get them back on track by helping them improve their skills and motivation, Waldeck said. Another class called essential skills helps students develop better note taking and study skills.

"We work as hard as we can to identify as quickly as we can students who need assistance based on test scores," Waldeck said.

Last year, Monticello Trails did not make AYP in reading for the sub-group of students with disabilities but was able to improve those scores to meet AYP this year even with increased standards in place. Waldeck said he expected the same thing to happen with math.

"Just because you don't make it doesn't mean it's not possible to fix it," he said. "It puts more focus on what we've been doing already. We've been focusing on test scores and focusing on best instructional strategies to best teach students.

"The fact is we have a great school, we have great teachers and we are all focused on student learning."

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