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EARLIER: Progress report: Elementaries lead the way

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Not all schools at state goal, but showing improvement over last three years

By Scotty McDaniel

Shelby County’s elementary school students are showing excellent progress in their capabilities,  but the middle schools and high schools aren’t improving quite as well.

Those assessments are established by the No Child Left Behind’s Annual Yearly Progress reports, which will be released today by the state.

"The category ’all students’ – as a district – shows we met the reading and math goal at every school,” Superintendent James Neihof said in a release. “Overall, we had 129 student group goals, and we met 110 of them. We are certainly well on our way to success.”

No Child Left Behind aims to gauge the performance of all students in math and reading.  Each year a higher percentage of students are expected to score proficiently on the test.

The state’s mandated goal is for schools to score 100 on statewide achievement tests by 2014.

This new data shows that Heritage, Simpsonville, Wright, and Painted Stone elementaries met their AYP goals, Clear Creed surpassed some goals, and Southside showed significant improvement trends.

And though neither of the middle schools nor Shelby County High School met their AYP goals, they showed progress over the last three years.

Neihof singled out Painted Stone Elementary for its excellence. The school met all 16 of its target goals and is at the top of the district with scores of 107.2 in science, 106.6 in math, and 102.9 in reading.

Both Clear Creek and Simpsonville surpassed the goal of 100 in math, and Heritage Elementary is well on its way, just shy of state goals in three content areas, with 99.7 in reading, 99.5 in math, and 99.9 in science.

"Heritage is clearly a school doing the right thing because of the consistent growth each year,” he said.

Though other county schools have not yet reached the state’s goal in all content areas, Neihof noted the steady climb in performance that the schools have shown over the last three years.

Wright Elementary has seen what he called “phenomenal” progress over the last three years, with math scores jumping from 78.9 to 98.9, on-demand writing going from 75.2 to 90.4, science from 90.8 to 99.1, and social studies 82.6 to 90.3 during that period. The school met all 12 of its AYP goals this year.

Just as impressive is Southside’s rising scores in social studies, science and math, increasing by 26 points, 21 points, and 18 points over a three-year period.

East and West middle schools saw math scores move from 77.9 to 84.7, and the high school saw a large gain in on-demand writing, jumping from 55.2 to 69.2.

Shelby’s gap between elementary and secondary progress seems to mirror other districts in the state.

The report shows that 78 percent of elementary schools, 37.6 percent of middle schools and 19.9 percent of high schools in Kentucky met all of their NCLB goals in 2009.

Neihof said by helping elementary students to excel early, their education performance will continue to be strong as they grow. That’s why, he said, the district focus this year is on math and reading.

"We are convinced improving those areas will only help promote success in other content areas,” he said.