Even though the Letcher County school district did not meet all of its federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) goals, five schools in the district did meet all target goals.
Arlie Boggs, Cowan, Fleming- Neon and Martha Jane Potter elementary schools joined Whitesburg Middle School in meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), which is the minimum improvement required for schools and districts in a year’s time under NCLB guidelines. Student performance is placed in four categories: novice, apprentice, proficient and distinguished. Novice is the lowest category. All schools have diff erent goals to meet which increase each year with the ultimate goal of all students reaching proficiency. A new state assessment program will begin in 2012.
Overall, the district met 12 of its 13 goals. It did not meet its goal in reading in the subpopulation of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
“We have decreased our novice levels at all schools,” said Jackie Collins, director of assessment and accountability.
The district average of students scoring proficient or distinguished surpassed the stage average in five areas. The state proficient/distinguished average in elementary science is 70.41 percent and as a district Letcher County’s percentage is 72.22. In middle school math, the state average is 62.38 percent and the district average is 72.58. In middle school science, the state average is 57.02 and the district average is 60.24. In high school reading the state average is 61.31 and the district average is 62.13. In high school writing ondemand, the state average is 35.94 and the district average is 36.51.
As a district, the number of students who scored proficient or above in elementary math increased by 9.86 percent from last year. Elementary writing increased by 9.66 percent and elementary science increased by 6.55 percent.
Middle school math increased 8.27 percent from last year, middle school reading increased by 2.37 percent and middle school social studies increased by 4.16 percent.
High school reading increased 4.08 percent and high school writing increased 2.86 percent.
“We want to celebrate the hard work of teachers and students at our schools,” said Letcher County Public Schools Supt. Anna Craft.
Arlie Boggs Elementary School had 56.38 percent of students who scored proficient or distinguished in reading and 61.70 percent of students who scored proficient or distinguished in math.
“I’m so pleased when I look at our increases,” said ABES principal Freddie Terry. “I see numbers that are very large.”
At Cowan Elementary School, 73.29 percent of students scored proficient or distinguished in reading and 67.87 percent scored proficient or distinguished in math.
CES Principal David Robinson said he was worried about test scores because of the many days missed last school year because of bad weather and the H1N1 (swine flu) scare.
“When the test scores came back I was surprised and very well pleased,” said Robinson. “That speaks volumes for the work the staff did.”
Fleming-Neon Elementary School had 69.63 percent of students scoring proficient or above in reading and 68.15 scoring profi cient or above in math.
“A lot of people don’t realize how long, how tedious those tests are,” said FNES Principal Tony Sergent.
At Martha Jane Potter Elementary School, 73.84 percent of students scored proficient or above in reading and 79.75 percent of students scored proficient or above in math.
“The students at MJP bought into our ideas and concepts,” said MJP Principal Josh Yonts. “They know we care about them.”
At Whitesburg Middle School, 69.27 percent of students scored proficient or above in reading and 72.92 percent of students scored proficient or above in math.
“WMS is buzzing toward profi- ciency,” said WMS Principal Bart Frazier.
Collins said although the other schools in the district did not meet all target goals, every school had significant gains in several content areas.
Beckham Bates Elementary School met six out of its 10 goals. BBES did not meet NCLB goals in math or reading, with 58.78 percent of students scoring proficient or above in reading and math.
Letcher County Central High School met 10 of 13 goals. LCCHS met its reading goal but not its math goal. At LCCHS, 62.13 percent of students scored proficient or above in reading and 37.81 percent of students scored proficient or above in math.
“Our high school, they are doing some great things but according to the criteria they are using right now they didn’t meet the goals,” said Craft.
Letcher Elementary School met eight of 10 goals including math. The school did not meet its reading goal. At LES, 63.81 percent of students scored proficient or above in reading and 67.62 percent of students scored proficient or above in math.
West Whitesburg Elementary School met eight of 10 goals. At WWES, 64.95 percent of students scored proficient or above in reading and 74.74 percent of students scored proficient or higher in math.
Since this was the second year in a row that WWES did not meet all of its goals the school must revise is consolidated school plan and provide students the opportunity to transfer to Arlie Boggs or Fleming-Neon elementary schools.
Collins said WWES did increase the number of students who scored proficient or above in math from last year’s results but not enough to meet its goal.
Just more than half of Kentucky’s public schools are meeting academic goals required by NCLB, according to achievement test scores and other academic indicators.
The Kentucky Department of Education released the standings of schools and school districts on Sept. 23 that also showed overwhelming numbers of high school students ill-prepared for college or the work force.
The information, typically available before the start of each school year, was released late this year because foul weather in late 2009 and early 2010 had delayed student testing across the state.
“There are highs and lows in this data,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “The good news is that many of Kentucky’s schools are seeing increases in the percentages of students performing at the highest levels.”
Overall, 640 Kentucky public schools met 100 percent of their No Child Left Behind goals to achieve “adequate yearly progress” during the 2009-2010 academic year, and that 511 schools fell short.
“Many of our schools are making progress in closing achievement gaps,” Holliday said in a statement. “But, our schools have a lot of work to do in preparing students for college and careers. That data is very sobering and should serve as a call to action, especially for our high schools. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and it has to start now.”
Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which was signed into law in January 2002, schools are required to make annual improvements in math and reading.
Kentucky Core Content Test results showed increases in the percentage of students scoring at the highest performance levels in nearly every elementary and middle school grade level. But average high school scores fell slightly in all subject areas, except writing.
For the first time this year, the Department of Education released information looking at how prepared Kentucky high school students were for college or the work force based on ACT scores and other indicators.
That data showed that 34 percent of Kentucky’s high school students are ready for college or careers. However, readiness varied widely from school to school – ranging from a low of 3 percent to a high of 81 percent.
According to the data, thirtytwo percent of last year’s LCCHS seniors are ready for college or careers. Thirty-nine LCCHS students out of 173 seniors received scores of at least a 20 in reading, 18 in English and 19 in mathematics on any administration of the ACT.
Thirteen percent of last year’s Jenkins High School seniors are ready for college or careers. Three of 38 Jenkins seniors met ACT benchmarks.
The Associated Press contributed
to this report.