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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 08/15/12
Romeo schools fail to make AYP in 2011-12
by CHRIS GRAYRomeo Community Schools, like nearly half of all districts in Michigan, did not meet state requirements for making educational progress.
Observer Staff Writer
For the 2011-12 school year, a whopping 262 districts (48 percent) did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), a significant jump from the prior year's 37 districts (6.7 percent) that didn't make it.
The district did, however, make it into the top 25 percent for the annual Top to Bottom rankings.
A large portion of the increased amount of schools that didn't make it originates from changes to the state's analysis process. Instead of looking at each individual school within a district, they are now lumped together as one unit.
The calculation process for Michigan schools changed due to the state receiving a flexibility request from the No Child Left Behind program, Superintendent Nancy Campbell said.
"We were to reach 100 percent proficiency by 2014, and they could see that wasn't happening," she said.
Campbell said the district didn't make it due to shifting numbers with Romeo High School standardized testing. Otherwise, the district would've made AYP this year.
Romeo High School Principal Mike Kaufman said specifically, the district didn't test enough students in the economically disadvantaged category. He said 95 percent must be tested, but not enough students actually took the Michigan Merit Exam.
"If they would've shown up to school and taken that either during the regular testing window or the make-up window we would've made AYP," he said. "It's kind of a technicality, but it's the indicator we have to live by."
There are consequences for not making AYP, but they do not begin until districts do not make it for several years. A district without two or more years of AYP needs to undergo school improvement plans as well as setting aside Title I funds for Schools of Choice and professional development.
Kaufman said to improve the district will have to find ways of ensuring students realize taking the exam is a graduation requirement.
"We do stress the importance, we do make phone calls, we do talk to parents," he said. "It's just one of those unfortunate circumstances."
Top to Bottom
In addition to AYP, schools are rated on how well they've progressed with the Top to Bottom system, which tracks standardized test results as well as academic improvement rates.
The highest-rated elementary school for Top to Bottom was Indian Hills Elementary at 77 percent, while the lowest was Hamilton-Parsons Elementary at 59 percent.
Romeo Middle School was rated higher than Powell Middle School at 66 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Powell was the lowest in the district.
Romeo High School received a 75 percent. Campbell said the district will not qualify for any extra funding since none of the schools are considered a reward school.
Reward schools are the top five percent of schools that have made the most improvement. The state placed 286 schools in this category.
"There are superintendents that would be beaming over our results," Campbell said. "I'm one of those superintendents where I see areas for growth ‹ I won't be happy until we have every student working at their potential."
Campbell said each school will examine the results to see what improvements can be made once all staff and administration return in the fall.
Like the AYP, the Top to Bottom rankings have changed. The system now utilizes three categories for schools: Reward, priority and focus.
Priority schools are those that are in the bottom 5 percent that have a graduation rate of less than 60 percent for three years in a row. These schools are placed under the authority of the State School Reform Office. A total of 146 schools fell into this category.
Focus schools are the 10 percent of schools with the widest gaps between their lowest 30 percent and top 30 percent of student achievement. A total of 358 schools were placed in this category.
None of Romeo's schools fell into these categories. Because of the change in the rating system, the prior year's results cannot be used for comparison.