Initial reports from the Georgia Department of Education indicate the Effingham County School system does not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress target for 2010.
These do not include summer retests and graduates. But BoE central office eyebrows were raised as they showed Effingham County High and Middle schools not meeting AYP with areas of concern in both the black and economically disadvantaged subgroups, placing the system accountable.
“What this tells us and calls us to do is continue to work to ensure that our instructional program meets the needs of all learners, regardless of subgroup. It is a challenge,” said Assistant Superintendent Greg Arnsdorff. “(I)t shows that the bar continues to go forward and we’ve got some work ahead of us.”
AYP is a component of the No Child Left Behind Act, which strives for 100 percent of students meeting and exceeding the standards by 2014. Georgia uses the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test and the Georgia High School Graduation Test to assess AYP, with graduation rate as a secondary indicator. Failure to improve in the same areas repeatedly can result in funding sanctions.
This year, targets went up in mathematics for grades 3-8 and in graduation rates, contributing to the statewide drop in schools making AYP for the year from 79 percent to 71 percent.
In Reading/English Language Arts, all Effingham schools met well above the absolute bar. But more than half of the black students and 66 percent of economically disadvantaged students in the district did not meet in math.
ECHS is teetering on the edge of the absolute bar of 74.9 percent in math and the 80 percent graduation rate target and it will likely make AYP for the year once summer results are included.
ECMS math results indicate students with disabilities not meeting and the black subgroup in the confidence gap, where they could meet after summer numbers are posted.
Although the schools may meet AYP for 2010, the system is held accountable for subgroups that do not meet, including black and economically disadvantaged students at ECHS and ECMS.
Subgroups are included in system level improvement plans, rather than in the individual schools, therefore they are the district’s responsibility.
“I will say and point out again that all of these absolute bars are going up next year, so not only are we trying to catch up to get to this point, they’re going to go up,” said Arnsdorff.
Although ECHS and ECMS are a concern to the superintendent and the board, they will not incur a Needs Improvement status.
Complete AYP results will not be released until September.
Said Superintendent Randy Shearouse: “I think when you look at our scores overall in what I consider to have been a pretty tough year for our staff — our teachers are going through a lot of changes, going through a lot of turmoil as far as funding…. Overall all I think our staff should be commended for preparing students to enter the next stage of life.”