Schools making adequate progress

August 16, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - All Washington County elementary schools met adequate yearly progress standards for the third consecutive year, officials announced Wednesday.

All but one of the county's middle schools met the same federal standards.

Adequate yearly progress (AYP) is determined by students' scores on Maryland School Assessments. Those results were released in June.

Western Heights Middle School did not meet adequate yearly progress and is now a school "in need of local attention," as determined by the Maryland State Department of Education.

To meet adequate yearly progress, a school must hit targets in up to 19 different areas, according to Donna Hanlin, assistant superintendent for secondary instruction. Western Heights did not meet the standard in one area: special education reading.

Subgroup categories include five racial-ethnic categories and three service group categories, such as special education students.

If the school does not meet federal standards next year, it becomes a school "in need of improvement." If a school is unable to make progress in all areas, including attendance, for two consecutive years, it is identified for school improvement status and faces consequences intended to bring about improvements at the school, according to information released by the Maryland State Department of Education. In some cases, parents are able to transfer children out of underperforming schools or take advantage of tutoring services.


Thirty-five of the 74 Western Heights special education students (47 percent) who took the reading test were proficient, according to state data. If 51.4 percent of those students were proficient, the school would not be "in need of local attention."

"Students continue to achieve at high levels, and we're very pleased that all elementary schools and all but one of our middle schools have met the state requirements for 2007," Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said. "While Western Heights missed one of the 19 targets for AYP this year, students there made notable gains."

Hanlin said that Western Heights closed the achievement gap for black students this year, in large part due to proactive efforts that began last year.

"We knew some extra attention was needed there," she said. "And we still have work to do."

Continued student interventions and professional development for teachers will be used to boost scores.

Acting Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Instruction Michael Markoe said he was very pleased with the success of the county's elementary schools.

"We're just extremely excited about meeting AYP for three consecutive years at the elementary level," he said. "These results reflect the hard work of teachers, staff, principals and, of course, students."

High school, county and state adequate yearly progress data will be released later this year.

The Herald-Mail Articles