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Six schools make the grade

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By Nathan L. McBroom

All six elementary schools in the district made the required academic progress on the No Child Left Behind assessment this past year; however, all three of the local secondary schools fell behind.

According to data released Tuesday morning by the Kentucky Department of Education, Shelby County Public Schools reached 17 out of 22 educational goals, or 77.3 percent, that were set for it by the federal government.

District personnel applauded the continued success at the elementary level and improvements made in math, but also expressed concerns for the progress at the middle schools and high school.

In a press release, Superintendent James Neihof said the data gives the district information needed to identify academic areas and schools where improvement must occur to close the achievement gap for student subgroups.

"We share a common focus to identify individual students and to help each (one) reach his or her potential. The gains we made in the past will be ammunition to help us move forward," he said.

The No Child Left Behind assessment is designed to determine whether all groups of students in a school (white, African-American, Hispanic, students with limited English proficiency, free/reduced lunch, and those with disability) are reaching required levels of performance in the areas of math and reading.

Every year a test is administered and a every year a higher percentage of students in each sub-group are expected to score proficiently on the test. Schools that meet 100 percent of their NCLB targets are said to have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

By 2014, all students in every sub-group are expected to score proficiently on the test.

Sally Sugg, assistant superintendent for student achievement, said Shelby County's ethnic and economic diversity causes it to have a high number of academic goals.

The number of targets goals increased from 19 in 2006 to 22 in 2008.

Out of the six local elementary schools, Painted Stone had the most goals to reach with 15. Heritage Elementary had 13, Wright and Simpsonville Elementary both had 12, and Clear Creek and Southside both had 10. All of these schools met all of their goals.

East Middle achieved 10 out of 12 target goals, 83.3 percent, and did not meet targets in Reading for Free/Reduced Lunch or Reading for Students with Disabilities.

West Middle achieved 13 out of 19 target goals, 68.4 percent, and did not meet targets in Reading for African-American and Free/Reduced Lunch, and did not meet targets in Reading and Math for Hispanic and Students with Disabilities.

SCHS achieved 15 out of 19 target goals, 78.9 percent, and did not meet targets in Math for African-American and Free/Reduced Lunch, and did not meet targets in Reading and Math for Students with Disabilities.

The district did not meet targets in Reading for African-American and Free/Reduced Lunch, and did not meet targets in Reading and Math for Students with Disabilities. The district also missed the target for Other Academic Indicator. For elementary and middle schools, it is the overall CATS 2007 midpoint classification, which covers the other content areas as well as Reading and Math and for Shelby County High School this means the graduation rate.

While the district did not meet its goals, Sugg said she was pleased that the percent of goals met increased from 57.9 percent in 2006 to 77.3 percent in 2008.

Across the state, 820 percent Kentucky's 1,157 public schools made the adequate yearly progress on the test. That's a drop of over 7 percent from two years ago, from 78.7 percent in 2006 to 70.9 this year.

Sugg said teachers should not become disheartened by the results.

"I don't want anyone to be discouraged. They are doing the right things. But we are going to need to be patient (some of the things we are doing) may take a while to pay off," she said.

Currently, Shelby County is in Tier 3 (second year) consequences, meaning it has missed AYP five years. It has to provide parent notification and revise the district improvement plan. The District will also receive technical assistance and continue to be subject to corrective action by the Kentucky Department of Education.

Every spring, students from grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11, are given the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System assessment. This test covers reading, math, science, seven subjects. The reading and math portions of the CATS are used for the NLCB assessment. Each schools graduation rate is also calculated into the formula.

While the full results from the CATS assessment are not expected to be released until September, the NCLB results are often a good indicator about how local students scored on the CATS test.

School times

Elementary- 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.

Middle- 8:55 a.m. to 3:35 p.m.

SCHS- 8:39 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.

Education Center @ Cropper- 8:55 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.

For questions or information, call the child's school or central office, 633-2375.