County schools meet standards

October 31, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - For the second consecutive year, all public high schools in Washington County met state and federal standards for adequate yearly progress.

Schools officials announced the same results in August for the county's elementary and middle schools.

The county is one of only six school systems statewide in which all public schools met adequate yearly progress standards, according to school officials.

To meet the adequate yearly progress benchmark, schools must achieve established goals each year that put them on track to meet the 100 percent proficiency standards in reading and math by 2014 that were established in federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

Officials announced last week that Washington County has no schools deemed "in need of improvement" or "in need of local attention" as determined by the Maryland State Department of Education and has met federal standards for 2006.


"It means we're making progress," said Donna Hanlin, assistant superintendent for secondary instruction. "We're on the right track."

Meeting adequate yearly progress is based on High School Assessment scores announced in August. Those assessments required for graduation are biology, algebra, government and English.

Adequate yearly progress is based only on the algebra and English assessments, Hanlin said. Students are tested after completing Algebra I and at the end of a 10th-grade English course.

The county had a higher percentage of students than any other state school system pass the algebra exam, officials have said. The county also had the highest percentage of African-American students pass the algebra exam - 70.5 percent - according to Maryland State Department of Education.

Hanlin said a measurable goal is set each year and school officials work to meet that goal. Federal No Child Left Behind legislation requires that county's have 100 percent of students score proficient or advanced on assessments by 2014.

"I support high standards for our students," Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said. "When all is said and done, even if they fall a little short of a very high bar, they're still performing well."

The county's students already are meeting a standard not required until 2014. The county's graduation rate in 2006 was 90.48 percent, above what will be the required rate.

Graduation rate is factored into a school's ability to meet adequate yearly progress, Hanlin said.

"We know that we have more work to do to meet 100 percent proficiency by 2014, but these results confirm that we are on the right path," Morgan said. "The instructional strategies in use, the constant data analysis, focused interventions and various program options for students are the reason we are making the required progress each year."

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