Two Dickinson public schools miss adequate yearly progressDICKINSON - Even though the Dickinson Public School District met adequate yearly progress (AYP) goals as an overall district for the 2007-08 school year, Berg Elementary School and Dickinson High School have not met adequate yearly progress as required by federal law.
By: Alan Reed, The Dickinson Press
DICKINSON - Even though the Dickinson Public School District met adequate yearly progress (AYP) goals as an overall district for the 2007-08 school year, Berg Elementary School and Dickinson High School have not met adequate yearly progress as required by federal law.
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction released AYP reports for state schools Tuesday morning. Berg Elementary failed to meet the AYP for the federal No Child Left Behind legislation due to its reading performance by economically disadvantaged students. Dickinson High failed to meet the AYP for its white students in math.
At Berg, 67.74 percent of the economically disadvantaged students met AYP in reading against a goal of 82.6 percent. At DHS, 54.19 percent of the white students met AYP in math, against a goal of 62.10 percent.
“What happened this year is the bar is raised. In North Dakota, the bar is raised every third year and this is the year,” Superintendent Dr. Paul Stremick said in explaining the deficiencies.
Goals were last raised for the 2004-05 school year after originally being established in the 2001-02 school year. They will next be raised for the 2010-11 school year with the goal of being 100 percent proficient by the 2013-14 school year.
Statewide, 301 of the 470 schools in North Dakota met AYP, which is 136 fewer than a year ago. Meanwhile, 169 schools did not meet AYP, up from 41 the year prior.
Knowing this is a year when standards were to rise, Stremick said the district is taking steps to improve math scores at the high school.
“So we’re looking at this as an opportunity to do better,” he said. “The majority of that plan focuses on professional development of our teachers.”
Several teachers have already gone to Michigan this summer to talk about how today’s students are different and discuss ways to get match concepts across to these students.
“That’s part of the whole math strategic plan, but it’s not part of the efforts of AYP,” Stremick said.
To specifically address AYP concerns, the district hired an additional half-time math teacher.
“The plan with that is in the basic algebra classes, we can break them up into smaller groups,” he said.
Instead of having basic algebra classes with 20-plus students each, the target is to get the class size down to 17 students, Stremick said.
“Also, the goal is to focus on power standards. The power standards are the areas that are covered most often in the standardized test and through the curriculum,” he said.
As for the Berg results, Stremick said it is very difficult to make AYP with subgroups that contain few students.
“With Berg now with one grade, they now have a subgroup of students in that one grade that is large enough to be counted,” he said of the fact that Berg now has only sixth grade students.
Stremick said the test results don’t have anything to do with how the elementary school is now configured.
“Those students were tested in October, so they were in that building for a month or two months before they were tested and they were tested on the fifth-grade standards,” he said.
There also is a lot of data on the federal level that shows economically disadvantaged students do score lower than other students, which is why there are the federal Title programs to provide assistance, Stremick said.
“This is one blip in one grade. This is one of the downfalls of having a school with just one grade,” he said. “You get a snapshot of just one grade and then the next year you get a different grade. It won’t even be the same students.”
That’s why many school administrators support the state DPI in developing growth model that tests the same students from year to year to legitimately measure progress or problems, he said.
Like Stremick, Dickinson School Board President Dean Rummel said they were anticipating the math issue at the high school with the rise in standards for this testing year. Rummel said the professional development that teachers are getting in the math curriculum, “will help our instructors in delivering our curriculum to our students. Unfortunately, these (AYP) reports are so late in the year.”
The next testing takes place this coming September and October, “So we don’t have the time to make the changes necessary,” Rummel said.
But the bar was missed in these two particular areas, he said.
“It is definitely the intent of the administration and the board to meet the bar. That is why the additional investment is there,” he said.
Rummel also pointed to the Title I funds the district gets to help address some of the issues that economically disadvantage students have in the classroom.
“In its entirety, our whole population meets AYP. For a parent to try to understand what this means for my child, each parent receives test results on their child. Then you try to explain what does this mean to the school district,” he said.
The current AYP reports show every school in the district fell short of desired percentage goals in various categories, with the majority of those challenges coming in reading.
“We are concerned about those percentages that are below goal,” Rummel said, even though those lower percentages met AYP requirements.