Local schools missing AYP doubles

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RICHMOND—The number of public schools in three local divisions that failed to make federal performance goals has doubled from one year ago, according to data released Thursday from the state Department of Education.

According to the state, 10 of the 18 public schools in Isle of Wight and Southampton counties and Franklin did not make Adequate Yearly Progress for the 2009-2010 school year. That total includes all three schools in Franklin.

Last year, five local schools did not make AYP.

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

Six schools in the area scored a perfect 29 and made AYP. In Isle of Wight County, Carrsville and Windsor elementary schools made the mark, as did Windsor Middle School. Southampton County’s Meherrin and Nottoway elementary schools and Southampton High School also made the mark.

All three schools in the Franklin division — S.P. Morton Elementary School, J.P. King Middle School and Franklin High School — fell short of AYP this year, with the three schools each scoring a 26. Last year, J.P. King and Franklin High made AYP.

“It’s a difficult place to be in at this time,” Franklin City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle said Thursday. “But we’re faced with what we’re faced with. We just need to work through and overcome it. The bottom line is you have to get to the sub-group populations (of students) that are struggling, and we’ve got to put some strategies in place so that these populations of kids are successful.”

Three schools in Southampton County — Capron and Riverdale elementary schools and Southampton Middle School — failed to make AYP this year. Riverdale has not made AYP during its two years of operation. Capron had made AYP every year since 2004, the only school in the division to do so.

Last year, Capron and Nottoway elementary schools, Southampton Middle School and Southampton High School made AYP.

Southampton Middle School scored the lowest in our area with a 24.

“We recognize the situation,” Southampton County Public Schools Division Superintendent Charles Turner said Thursday. “We are taking steps, and putting some things into place, for the next year to rectify the situation. We are confident that the measures which we are putting into place will enable us to meet our goal, which is to have 100 percent of our schools meet AYP just as, based upon preliminary state data, 100 percent of our schools met for state accreditation.”

In Isle of Wight, five schools — Carrollton, Carrsville, Hardy and Windsor elementary schools and Windsor Middle School — made AYP. Meanwhile, the remaining four schools — Westside Elementary School, Smithfield Middle School, and Smithfield and Windsor high schools — did not make AYP.

Westside and the two high schools just missed AYP, scoring 28s. Smithfield Middle School scored a 27.

Last year, every school in the Isle of Wight division made AYP except Windsor Middle School and Smithfield High School.

Dr. Michael McPherson, superintendent of Isle of Wight Public Schools, was in meetings Thursday and could not be reached for comment. School board president David Goodrich declined to comment until after meeting with McPherson and the rest of the board at their Thursday night meeting.

The Department of Education reported that 1,104 of the 1,836 public schools in the state, or 60 percent, made AYP this year, while 726 schools did not. Also, 928 of the schools that made AYP this year made the goal last year, and 385 of the 726 schools that did not make AYP this year — a little more than half —had made the goal last year.

None of the local school divisions made AYP, but they weren’t alone; only 12 of the 132 divisions in the state, or nine percent, made AYP this year. Last year, Isle of Wight Public Schools and Southampton County Public Schools earned AYP status but Franklin City Public Schools did not.

“We have made a lot of progress over the years,” Charles Pyle, the Director of Communications for the VDOE, said Thursday. “A lot of the gains that other states are just making now, or have just begun to make within the last few years, we’ve been there.”

Pyle added that schools were required to exceed passing rates of 79 percent in math and 81 percent in English without the benefit of rounding.

Last year, schools were only required to meet those numbers to pass and scores could be rounded up.