Archive for Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lawrence district gets passing grades

Yearly progress goal falls short for students with disabilities in three junior highs

November 11, 2006


The Lawrence school district announced Friday that it passed the federal Annual Yearly Progress goal for reading and math.

But not every school in the district gets to pull out the party hats and balloons.

Preliminary figures show three local junior high schools - South, Central and Southwest - failed to make the AYP goals in one subgroup: students with disabilities.

And that means officials at those schools are re-examining what they can do before the next test period starts in February, said Terry McEwen, the district's director of assessment.

"We've been grappling with that since the school year began," McEwen said. "We have things in place to help all students be successful."

McEwen plans to give Lawrence's school board a report about AYP at Monday's board meeting, at 7 p.m. in the district's Educational Support and Distribution Center, 110 McDonald Drive.

AYP is the federal government's method of determining if schools are meeting the No Child Left Behind Act's goal of having 100 percent of students proficient in reading and math by 2014.

The Kansas Department of Education plans to release a preliminary list of schools and school districts that didn't meet AYP on Wednesday at the State Board of Education meeting in Topeka.

McEwen released the preliminary Lawrence information Friday, which shows the district met the AYP goals, overall. Final results will be released in December.

Students were tested throughout the district between March 1 and April 24 in grades three through eight and in grade 11. To meet AYP, they have to score a "proficient" or above score on the reading and math tests for their grade level.

AYP also has to be met by subgroups in a district. Subgroups are groups of 30 or more students in the following 10 categories dealing with ethnicity, income, English proficiency or special needs:

All students, students qualifying for free or reduced lunches, students with disabilities, English language learners, white students, black students, Hispanic students, Asian students, American Indian students and multi-ethnic students. Students may fall into one or more subgroup.

McEwen said the preliminary numbers show that all of the city's schools met AYP for "all students."

However, for the subgroup "students with disabilities" Central and South missed the mark in reading, and Southwest didn't make it for both reading and math.

The latest figures are an improvement over the previous year, when four local schools didn't make the AYP mark in three subgroups, McEwen said.

When a school does not meet AYP for two consecutive years it is considered "on improvement." No Lawrence schools are "on improvement," he said.

The "students with disabilities" subgroup, which includes 857 students in reading and 876 in math, made AYP targets in all the other schools, he said.

McEwen said that 86.4 percent of Lawrence's schools did make AYP for both reading and math.

"So obviously, lots of things are going in the right direction," he said. "There is just some additional work that needs to be done. We've got the focus in place to make sure that happens."

The next testing period is Feb. 28 through April 16.

"Overall, the report is a credit to the community, the kids and the teachers," said Bruce Passman, deputy superintendent. "But that doesn't mean we rest on our laurels, because for some groups, we still have a long way to go. We've got to continue to focus on progress and growth for each kid. The work's not done yet."


Richard Heckler 11 years, 7 months ago

Hopefully a new congress will examine NCLB,scrap it or present something more practical and affordable. Maybe a new curriculum that might be more fun and interesting for both our instructors and the student. When most districts are blessed with an excellent teaching staff then let's take a look at new tools. Tools that allow our teachers to reach the whole child. Requring our children to become testing machines may not be working which is not the fault the teaching staff or the students.

I've always felt NCLB was a tool to ultimately break down the system and present a case for privatization and corporate welfare. IMO a certain group of neoconservatives are obsessed with the world of privatization. Halliburton,Blackwater Inc.,Kellogg,Brown and Root and Bechtel present a case for exactly the opposite.

Kuku_Kansas 11 years, 7 months ago

The KS State Board of Education has just notified school districts of new assessment requires for students with special needs.

In the past, a student's IEP could be written so he/she could take a math assessment with use of a calculator. According to the new state assessment policy, no student, regardless of IEP team decision, will be allowed to use a calculator on any portion of the state assessments.

I think one is built into the computerized program, on select questions, but is not available for all problems.

This will have a HUGE impact on the subgroup scores which will prevent schools and their districts from making AYP.

Congrats to the Lawrence school district and select schools...hopefully your "success" (as outlined by NCLB), will continue in the coming years.

overthemoon 11 years, 7 months ago

The NCLUuntested is a perfect example of the backwards approach to what we're told is the conservative agenda...smaller government, power to the states. However, the states and school districts are held hostage by this money wasting scheme with the threat of losing federal funding if they don't play the game. The recent article about student information being used for military recruitment with punitive consequences for those opting out only reinforces the underlying control tactics touted as an 'education bill'.

The result is that education suffers. Exposure to a rounded education (including sciences, languages, arts, sports) has diminished considerably under the burden of teaching children to test well in two subject areas. There are those who suggest that this is also an agenda item...a poorly educated population is a controllable electorate.

I am all for scrapping the bill in its entirety and allowing teachers and school to get back to doing what they need to do to provide a balanced educational system. They know well enough what students need additional help without time wasting testing. Let's teach children to think, not take tests.

Meeting national standards should result in bonuses and rewards, not be a stipulation for receiving basic funding.

kugrad 11 years, 7 months ago

kuku, I could be wrong, but I believe that change in requirements actually came from the Federal govt., not from the state. I think it applies to every state. There is a calculator available to all students on select portions of the computerized math test. Reading the reading test was never really ok, even if some people ignored that and put it in the IEP. Then you are not testing that child's reading. It wasn't leveling the playing field in that case, it was changing the game. There are lots of issues with NCLB and hopefully some reasonable changes are on the way. Don't hold your breath though.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 7 months ago

Funny how baby-boomers think they are so smart. They didn't have this kind of crap when they were in school. Do they think their parent's generation somehow 'jipped' them? Does all this administeria make education better? Or does it provide jobs for the people who maybe should be doing something else? Reports. Findings. Waste.

hockmano 11 years, 7 months ago

Teachers who care make an education easier to obtain. Yes, there are alot of great teachers out there. But some need to go back and take a child psychology test or two. This is not back in the '70's when I was growing up. Teachers need to remember that.

Too get respect you have to give respect. Yelling and intimidating won't get you very far these days.

Alot of these students that meet the special needs categories are being left behind. They should have never did away with the alternative high school.

I think it's time for parents in this district to make a stand. If your child is one of these children being left behind light a fire under the school board and try to change things.

I am so sick of hearing that education needs more money. We did not have computers, calculators, and all this other fancy crap when I was in school. And I was given a better education than any of my children who have went to Lawrence Public Schools almost all their lives.

Everyone always puts down Topeka and Kansas City Kansas on this board, but when it comes to education....they have this district beat by a long shot!!!Why? More resources. Plain and simple. Think about it.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.