Shelby County Public Schools: Reaction minimal at Simpsonville

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Only 1 student has requested a transfer

By Todd Martin

There was a very small turnout Tuesday night for a meeting at Simpsonville Elementary where parents learned more about the impact of the school’s falling into the No Child Left Behind School Improvement Plan, Year 1 category.

After sending letters to every student's home, explaining that this evaluation would allow students to transfer to Painted Stone or Wright elementaries, if they so chose, the school’s administrators saw just two parents show up for the meeting.

“According to Principal Jill Tingle, they were mostly there to listen and expressed no interest in transferring," said Duanne Puckett, community relation's coordinator for Shelby County Public Schools.

While Tingle noted that she had not received any transfer requests at the school, Lisa Smith, chief academic officer/deputy superintendent of SCPS, said the district has received one.

Thursday was the deadline for parents to request a transfer, which would be at the district's cost until the school meets the necessary standards.

"The meeting went well," Smith said.

By only meeting nine of 10 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals this year and hitting only 10 of 12 in 2010, Simpsonville missed meeting the No Child Left Behind AYP goals two years in row.

The consequences of falling into the School Improvement Plan, Year 1 category involve notifying the parents, revising the school improvement plan, offering students the opportunity to transfer to a school in the district that did reach 100 percent of it's goals and reserving 10 percent of the school's Title 1 money for professional development for teachers.

Puckett said the meeting was designed to inform people of the successes that Simpsonville has recently had.

"There are good things that are not reflected by the Annual Yearly Progress report," she said. "Simpsonville was one of only two schools in the district to reach an overall academic index score of one hundred, and they reached one hundred in several academic areas."

School and district officials know there is more to evaluating students’ progress than AYP, which takes into account only reading and math, but they aren't dismissing the scores or the school's other successes.

"We know there is always room for improvement," Puckett said. "We're certainly not ignoring AYP, but there are several other standards that we are meeting."