District fails to make AYP: High school and middle school don’t meet goals for second and third year, respectivelyThe results are in and for the third consecutive year the Jamestown Public School District failed to meet adequate yearly progress. The Jamestown Public School Board learned about this at Monday’s meeting. “This is one of the issues we have with No Child Left Behind,” said JPS Superintendent Bob Toso. “It just sets up every school and district for failure.”
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The results are in and for the third consecutive year the Jamestown Public School District failed to meet adequate yearly progress.
The Jamestown Public School Board learned about this at Monday’s meeting.
“This is one of the issues we have with No Child Left Behind,” said JPS Superintendent Bob Toso. “It just sets up every school and district for failure.”
AYP is a federal assessment standard required as part of No Child Left Behind. Students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 take reading and math tests to see if they are proficient at their grade levels. If schools do not meet AYP requirements, the government may penalize the district and withhold funding.
On the plus side, all five Jamestown elementary schools made AYP. The high school and middle school both failed. This is the second year in a row for the high school and third year in a row for the middle school.
At each level in the schools, students are tested on math and reading and they earn a composite score.
At the high school the school was at 64 percent proficiency with a goal of 81 percent for math. In reading the high school scored 72 percent proficiency with a goal of 85.7 percent.
“We need to get a few more kids to that proficiency level,” Toso said. “It wouldn’t take too many of them and we’d be proficient in reading.”
The math proficiency goal at the middle school was exceeded with 85 proficient. The achievement goal for reading was 90.4 percent and only 73 percent tested proficient.
The math proficiency level at Jamestown Middle School was the second highest among all Class A schools, Toso said.
“They did improve their math scores considerably,” he said of the middle school. “The reading score again, we need a few more students to get above that proficiency level.”
As a result of failing to meet AYP again Toso said after the meeting one possible solution to meet federal requirements would be to scrap the middle school Title 1 program.
Last year the district was required to put 10 percent of Title 1 funding toward professional development. This year it could be another 10 percent toward professional development — or getting rid of Title 1 in the middle school entirely to make up the roughly $80,000 commitment, Toso said.
If individual students’ scores are charted throughout the years, as opposed to looking at whole grade levels, Jamestown students do show improvement.
Wayne Leben, from the district’s special education office, presented tracked scores of students over a period of years, which showed some positive growth above proficiency levels with average scores.
“Our younger students are demonstrating really good scores,” Leben said. “Everybody as a group is demonstrating good, strong scores.”
The district also heard some good news with School Resource Officer Nick Hardy’s annual report.
When Hardy started in 2009 he had 159 incidents he had to attend to. During the last school year that number was 45 incidents. He said the majority were disorderly conducts and simple assaults. Forty seven percent took place at the high school.
“There’s over 2,000 kids in Jamestown Public Schools and a realistic goal for me would be 30 (incidents),” Hardy said. “If we got down to 30 for nine months a year — that would be tremendous.”
Hardy said he was also able to spend more hours with prevention and education programs, which should help keep numbers low.
In 2009 he was able to spend about 40 hours doing those types of programs. Last year, Hardy spent between 250 and 300 hours doing prevention and education programs.
“From what we’ve seen and what I’ve heard, I couldn’t be happier with what we’re seeing right now,” he said.
Another report from Rhoda Young, director of the James River Special Education Cooperative, showed growth in reading scores through the Read 180 program.
“We can see from the data on the growth summary report that we have some very positive gain,” Young said. “I guess I’d first like to congratulate our students for working very hard and making very good use of the program. Also, congratulations to our teachers who are working very hard with our students…”
Anywhere from 150 to 180 students use the Read 180 program which focuses more time on reading. Young said it’s easier to implement at the elementary level because of the time commitment.
“We’re getting very positive results and still hearing positive reports from teachers and parents and students as well,” she said.
Young said an upgrade to the program — which some teachers would like to utilize — would cost nearly $43,000. This money is not budgeted for as the district started Read 180 with stimulus funds.
“We are working with our budget to try and allocate the dollars to make this happen, but of course it depends on other things we do,” Toso said.
Also, in athletics the board decided without a vote to not allow the superintendent or any School Board members to serve on an athletic change implementation committee. The new committee will consist of two coaches, both activities directors and five community members.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com