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County high schools fail to meet goals set in math

No Child Left Behind data was released Tuesday


Jenkins High School and Letcher County Central High School both have failed to reach goals set under under the No Child Left Behind Act, according to data released this week by the Kentucky Department of Education.

“We are really going to be looking at math and working hard,” said Deborah Watts, superintendent of Jenkins Independent School System. “As we begin the new year, plans are currently underway to address student learning needs. Our staff is excited to begin a new year focused on student achievement.”

This is the third year in a row that both high schools have not met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in math.

AYP is the term used under NCLB to refer to the minimum improvement required of each school and district over the course of one year. It is measured at the school and district levels by measuring growth in the percentage of students scoring proficient or above in reading and mathematics, assessing improvement on the other academic indicator; and testing at least 95 percent of enrolled students and student populations of sufficient size. The other academic indicator for elementary and middle schools is the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) accountability classification. Graduation rate is the indicator for high schools.

AYP results are based on items from the Kentucky Core Content Tests (KCCT) in the areas of reading and mathematics. Schools are required to have specific percentages of students reaching proficiency or above in reading and mathematics each year and to meet other criteria in order to make AYP.

The Kentucky Board of Education adopted the approach of establishing two, three-year plateaus of performance toward the goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014.

School districts and/or schools that are funded by the federal Title 1 program will be subject to federal consequences if they do not make AYP in the same content area in any student group for two or more consecutive years. According to the Kentucky Department of Education, the Title 1 program provides funding to ensure that disadvantaged children receive opportunities for high-quality educational services.

Jenkins High School receives Title I funding and is considered to be under tier 1 consequences. Jenkins High School must give students the option to transfer to a better performing school as well as write or review its school plan. Watts said the district is already reviewing its school plan.

It takes a school or district two years of making AYP to come out of tier consequences and Watts said Jenkins High School will do so.

“We are working hard and we are going to do that,” said Watts.

LCCHS does not receive Title 1 funding.

In 2005, the last year before consolidation, Fleming-Neon and Whitesburg high schools did not meet their NCLB math goals.

“Math has been one area that we want to raise at the high school,” said Anna Craft, superintendent of the Letcher County School System.

Kelly Hall, director of curriculum and instruction for the Letcher County School System, said the district will offer algebra classes to seventh-grade students. If middle school algebra classes are successful this school year, then geometry will be offered at the middle school level next fall.

Both high schools did make AYP in reading.

The Letcher County school district and the Jenkins Independent school district both met all of their district goals.

This is the second year in a row that the Letcher County School System has made AYP, clearing it of tier status.

“It’s so easy to get into the tier status but it takes a lot of time to get out of the tier status,” said Will Smith, chairman of the Letcher County Board of Education.

All elementary and middle schools in the Letcher County school district and in the Jenkins Independent school district met their school goals.

Data indicate that 820 of Kentucky’s 1,157 public schools made AYP. Statewide, 119 schools are subject to consequences outlined through NCLB.

School districts are also held to the requirements of AYP and are subject to consequences. Of Kentucky’s 175 school districts, 103 districts met 100 percent of their target goals for the 2007- 2008 school year.

NCLB, which measures achievement in public schools based on standardized state tests, mandates that schools and districts be held accountable for the progress of student groups in reading and mathematics testing in grades three through eight and at least once in each subject in high school and rates of participation in testing.

Each Kentucky school and district has a specific number of NCLB goals to meet in order to make AYP. The number of goals varies depending on the sizes of student population in each school and district.

CATS results will be released by the Kentucky Department of Education in September.


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