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Only six of 29 local schools made Adequate Yearly Progress according to recently released No Child Left Behind data, but they’re in good company. About 90 percent of Kentucky schools didn’t make AYP, according to Mark Kopp, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction services with Hardin County Schools.
That was likely one of the reasons Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday traveled Friday to Washington, D.C., for an announcement from President Barack Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan regarding NCLB flexibility. States have seven weeks to apply for a waiver of NCLB guidelines in return for state efforts to close achievement gaps and prepare students for college and careers. Kentucky will apply for a waiver.
AYP is defined by a school or district meeting every goal set for it. The goals are determined by reading and math scores, along with other factors such as graduation, in all students as well as a variety of subpopulations based on race, income, limited English proficiency and disability. Schools and districts have to have a certain number of students in a given population for that population to count in NCLB results, which is why the number of goals varies from school to school.
Nannette Johnston, superintendent of Hardin County Schools, said with the state’s emphasis on college and career readiness and its adoption of new national standards in math and English, the district should do well during the waiver consideration period.
“We’re hopeful and we have confidence that Kentucky will receive that waiver,” Johnston said.
Hardin County Schools met 14 of 23 goals, which is about 61 percent. Five of its elementary schools, Howevalley, Lakewood, Lincoln Trail, New Highland and Vine Grove, made AYP.
Only 22 districts of 174 in Kentucky made AYP. Kopp said the district focused on the improvement in their scores instead of NCLB goals. NCLB doesn’t account for any improvement in reading and math scores if the set goal isn’t met.
“The system is flawed, frankly,” he said.
Elizabethtown Independent Schools met 8 of 16 goals as a district. Superintendent Gary French celebrated the success of Morningside Elementary School, which met all of its 12 goals, and the improvement shown by the schools, especially in subpopulations of black students and students who receive free or reduced-price lunch.
French agreed that the wide failure of districts across the state to meet AYP was a problem and said changes probably needed to be made with NCLB.
“I think it did serve a purpose,” he said.
LaRue County Middle School met AYP, while no West Point Independent schools met AYP.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.