Clark County Schools officials were notified by the Kentucky Department of Education late last week that the district is one of 13 in the state that have not met their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals under requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act for the past eight or more years.
As a result, the 13 identified districts are in the “corrective action-year 5” category of consequences under NCLB.
Schools and districts that are funded by the federal Title I program, designed to ensure disadvantaged children receive opportunities for high-quality education, are subject to federal consequences if they fail to make AYP in the same content area in any student group for two or more consecutive years.
Student groups in Kentucky are disaggregated by ethnicity, low-income status (eligibility for free/reduced price meals) and those with disabilities and limited English proficiency.
Clark County Public Schools met 14 of its 16 goals in 2010, but as has been the case in previous years, the two goals not met were with the same students populations, students with disabilities and those eligible for free/reduced meals.
According to a news release, KDE will provide direct assistance to all 13 districts as they develop corrective action plans and deferred programmatic funds budgets, but monetary assistance will only be given to the lowest five performing districts, Covington Independent, Carter, Hardin, Jefferson and Knox counties.
This was the first time KDE has issued a list of the low-performing districts.
Clark officials said they weren’t sure of the purpose of the list because they have been working with KDE for several years and all the corrective actions listed in the release have been implemented in the district already.
“We had an audit when we first reached Tier 3 consequences about five years ago, and everything that was in that plan was done, and KDE has given us assistance teams the last four years, but it’s not helped. We’re still not making it,” said Assistant Superintendent Pat Rosenthal. “We feel like we’re focusing on the right things with our district improvement plan, and we have gotten a little better, but we still need to do better.”
Portions of the district improvement plan which were implemented before last school year showed positive results as four schools which had not met their AYP goals in 2009 met all their goals in 2010, but Superintendent Elaine Farris said the district needed to do more.
“There has been an increase in the number of students scoring proficient, however it’s not enough for us to meet AYP target goals,” said Farris. “I’m very confident that building leadership and district staff truly understand that what goes on in the classroom everyday is going to make a difference. We just have to go back as a district staff and look at how we’re structuring things to help our schools.”
Farris said several things have been implemented this year to help monitor more closely, how schools are identifying and helping struggling students including its response to intervention program which helps teachers to intervene more quickly with students who are falling behind.
She also has monthly meeting with principals in which they bring student data showing where their students are academically and what they are doing to help the struggling students improve.
Farris said more closely monitoring student data is the key to getting the district to where it meets all its goals.
“We have not monitored student progress in a systematic way and held everybody accountable for making sure all students succeed. That’s what it is going to take and that’s what we are going to do,” Farris said. “
Since her arrival as superintendent, Farris has been saying all students, with no exceptions, must be provided the same opportunities to succeed. Making that happen, she said, would take a change in the way some people have always thought about certain student populations.
“It’s just a fact that there’s the perception that some kids can’t learn, and we’ve got to change that thinking. Until we believe in our hearts that all kids can learn, we can’t change it,” Farris said. “Some superintendents don’t think it’s realistic to expect to reach all AYP goals. I’m not one of them. I know we can do it. We will make AYP this year, no exceptions. I’m expecting nothing less.”
Contact Bob Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org