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SCHOOL REPORT CARDS Despite high performance scores, two districts miss progress goals



Published: Sat, August 20, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Districts that failed to meet AYP for three years couldn't score higher than continuous improvement.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

AUSTINTOWN -- Even though the school district achieved its highest performance index score on the 2004-05 report cards, it dropped to continuous improvement.

That's because the district failed to meet adequate yearly progress for the third consecutive year.

AYP goals set the percentage of pupils who must achieve a score proficient or above in reading and math, the percentage of enrolled pupils who participate in the testing in those subjects and the percentage who must attend and graduate that school year.

The state measures AYP goals of proficiency for each district and each school in 10 pupil groups.

"If you don't make it in one of those groups, you don't make AYP," said Superintendent Douglas Heuer. "It's a dead or alive situation."

The 10 groups are: all pupils, black, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, multiracial, white, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient and pupils with disabilities.

The Austintown district earned an effective rating on its 2003-04 report card, and Boardman rated excellent. Both districts dropped to continuous improvement on the 2004-05 report cards.

That's a two-rating drop for Boardman, one for Austintown.

Ratings slip

For the third consecutive year, both districts failed to meet AYP. A school or district that fails to meet AYP goals for more than two years in more than one pupil group can be rated no higher than continuous improvement.

On the other hand, a district that meets AYP can be designated no lower than continuous improvement.

In Austintown, the district missed AYP goals in reading for black pupils and for special needs pupils in reading and math.

That meant the district's rating slipped to continuous improvement.

Because the district has few pupils in the Asian, American Indian, Hispanic, multiracial and limited English proficient subgroups, those categories aren't calculated in the district's scores.

The district's rating is lower because of AYP, even though it earned its highest performance index score and increased by two performance indicators from the previous year.

Developing strategies

Boardman increased in performance indicators earning 21 out of 23, but Frank Lazzeri, superintendent, said the district has more work to do to reach AYP levels.

"We're going to look at the data and develop some new strategies," he said. "I accept that as the superintendent."

Additional tutoring will be provided for pupils who didn't meet state proficiency levels, Lazzeri said.

For the performance index, districts earn points based on each pupil's performance on all tested subjects in grades three through eight and on the Ohio Graduation Test.

Austintown's performance increased this year to 96, compared with 93 last year and 87.7 in 2002 to 2003, the first year the index was given.

Federal guidelines under the No Child Left Behind policy call for all pupils in all groups to achieve proficiency by 2012.

The district missed the proficiency level among blacks in the reading section by only four pupils. AYP goals increase annually.

The district plans to sort through the data provided by the state to determine at what grade levels the problems exist and then develop plans to address them, the superintendent said.




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