Schools earn Adequate Yearly Progress designation

Published 8:31 am Friday, August 14, 2009

Most public schools in the area made “Adequate Yearly Progress” during the 2008-09 school year, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Education.

Federal law requires that a school must achieve in 29 target areas across seven subgroups of students to earn AYP status. Missing one these benchmarks could cause a school, or even an entire division, to not make AYP.

Only a handful of schools in the area did not score a perfect 29. In Isle of Wight County, both Windsor Middle School and Smithfield High School scored a 28. S.P. Morton Elementary School in Franklin earned a 25. In Southampton County, Riverdale Elementary School met 24 target areas, while Meherrin Elementary School made 28.

Isle of Wight Public Schools and Southampton County Public Schools earned AYP status divisionwide. Franklin City Public Schools did not.

“The AYP challenge becomes more rigorous each year,” Dr. Michael McPherson, Isle of Wight superintendent, said Thursday. “Our staff’s commitment to helping all students reach these higher expectations is evident. I applaud the efforts of every student, teacher, administrator and staff member throughout the school system.”

In Isle of Wight County, Windsor Middle School and Smithfield High School did not make AYP. Additional corrective actions were ordered for Smithfield Middle School, which is in the fourth year of a plan to help students in English.

Franklin City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rich Belle said she was pleased to see both J.P. King Middle School and Franklin High School earn AYP status.

“We knew they could do it,” Belle said Wednesday of the middle school’s students and staff. She said that the hard work of the teachers and students as well as partnerships with the University of Virginia and the Department of Education all played a role in the school’s success.

J.P. King made AYP for the second consecutive year. Franklin High earned AYP status after falling short last year because of its graduation rate. FHS increased its graduation rate to 64 percent this year, up four percentage points from last year.

Franklin school officials were disappointed that S.P. Morton Elementary School did not make AYP but said they would implement a new program to help coordinate efforts among students, parents and teachers to help each student excel academically.

Belle said the school division is working hard to ensure it reaches divisionwide AYP next year.

“We will do everything we have to,” she said.

Two elementary schools fell short of the AYP mark in Southampton County.

Riverdale Elementary School did not make AYP during its first year of operation. Its predecessor, Hunterdale Elementary School, had not made AYP for four of the last five years, prompting the state to order the school to implement a school-improvement program last year. Riverdale is now in the second year of that program, which targets competency in English and math.

Meanwhile, Meherrin Elementary School did not make AYP for the first time since 2004, the first year records were available. That means only one school in Southampton County, Capron Elementary, has made AYP every year since 2004.

Southampton Middle School made AYP this year, after falling short four of the last five years. Also, the Southampton County division as a whole made AYP for the first time since 2006.

“We will continue our quest for 100 percent (AYP status), as we have now been able to achieve with Standards of Learning full state accreditation status for all of our schools,” Southampton County Public Schools Division Superintendent Charles Turner said Thursday.

Locally, Southampton Middle School posted the largest improvement in AYP target areas, improving its score from 22 to 29.