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Borough schools meeting standards: More than 75 percent of the district makes adequate yearly progress requirements

Posted: Monday, August 30, 2010

More than 75 percent of the schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District met their "adequate yearly progress," or AYP, proficiency requirements under the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act last school year, according to data released earlier this month by the state's Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Statewide, 59.8 percent of schools made adequate yearly progress.

"The majority of the schools that didn't make it, it was because of a particular category," said Sean Dusek, the district's assistant superintendent of instruction. "As a whole our students are doing very well but as you dig deeper into the data those categories would be a priority for us."

He said that on the whole nearly 90 percent of students in the district are proficient in language arts and some 80 percent meet the mark for math. Districtwide results are still being determined by the state.

In order to meet the State of Alaska's AYP benchmarks, schools must meet 31 different categories, spanning from attendance rates to math test scores. Scores in these categories are further divided into ten sub-groups including low-income, ethnic groups, and special needs.

Reading, writing, and math are the three assessments that each student must take for AYP. The reading and writing scores are then combined to form the language arts composite score. The math performance score stands alone.

For the 2009-2010 school year, 77.18 percent of students needed to reach benchmark goals in language arts, and 66.09 percent of students in math, for a school to meet AYP. This year that percentage jumps up to 82.88 percent for language arts and 74.57 percent for math.

Each year, schools are expected to meet gradually higher proficiency rate benchmarks in language arts and math to reach 100 percent proficiency in 2013-2014.

Ten of the schools in the district did not meet AYP, Dusek said.

Connections, for example, did not meet the graduation rate or the math baseline for economically disadvantaged students.

He said Kenai Central High School did not make it in the sub-category of students with disabilities in language arts and math. Same for Kenai Middle, which did not meet AYP in this sub-category for language arts.

Kenai Alternative as a whole did not meet AYP but, Dusek said, the law of low numbers applies to it.

Because it's a small school, he explained, meaning that only two or three fewer students than last year might be proficient proficient, but it can equate to a 20 percent drop.

Other schools that did not make the grade were the Kenai Youth Facility, Mountain View Elementary, Nikiski Middle/Senior High School, Soldotna Middle School, Tebughna School and Voznesenka School.

"We are about continuous improvement," Dusek said. "As long as we are making steps forward with all of our kids we feel good about that."

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at brielle.schaeffer@peninsulaclarion.com.



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