Schools struggle to make the grade.Byline: Anne Williams The Register-Guard
Shasta Middle School co-principal Bert Eliason and his staff were pleased in August when they learned that their school was one of only two middle schools in the Eugene-Springfield area to pass muster to pass through a muster or inspection without censure.
See also: Muster under tough new federal education standards.
"The nature of things is you get compared to other local districts, and quite frankly Bethel Bethel, in the Bible
Bethel (bĕth`əl) [Heb.,=house of God].
1 Ancient city of central Palestine, the modern Baytin, the West Bank, N of Jerusalem. has been the ugly stepsister," Eliason said of the fast-growing district in west Eugene. "So every time we're doing something exactly right, you say, `All right! It shows the things we're doing are working!' '
Alas, it wasn't to be.
That report was preliminary, and in a final version released Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Education The Department of Education of the U.S. state of Oregon is responsible for implementation of state policies with respect to public education at the kindergarten through community college level, including academic standards and testing, credentials, and other matters not reserved to , Shasta joins nine other unlucky Oregon schools whose designations under President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-110), commonly known as NCLB (IPA: /ˈnɪkəlbiː/), is a United States federal law that was passed in the House of Representatives on May 23, 2001 changed with corrected data from "making adequate yearly progress Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, is a measurement defined by the United States federal No Child Left Behind Act that allows the U.S. Department of Education to determine how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically. ," or AYP AYP Adequate Yearly Progress (National Assessment of Educational Progress)
AYP Anarchist Yellow Pages
AYP American Youth Philharmonic , to "needs improvement."
The Department of Education also found that 329 of Oregon's 1,216 schools failed to hit one or more of the targets required to show AYP. That's fewer than in the initial report, which identified 365 such schools. That means 45 schools - among them Bethel's Meadow View School and Danebo Elementary, Springfield's Maple Elementary, Siuslaw's Rhododendron rhododendron (rō'dədĕn`drən) [Gr.,=rose tree], any plant of the genus Rhododendron, shrubs of the family Ericaceae (heath family) found chiefly in mountainous areas of the arctic and north temperate regions and also of the Elementary and Harrisburg High School - saw their designations upgraded.
What makes Shasta's reversal especially galling, Eliason said, is how close the school came.
"It came down to one student," he said. Two years ago, a couple of kids on special education plans didn't make it to school on state testing day, he explained, and they didn't come on subsequent days, either, even though counselors called them at home.
When the state recalculated Shasta's test participation rate for special education students, it found the school missed the mark by the equivalent of one student.
Eliason joins a growing chorus of school administrators frustrated frus·trate
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart: with the capriciousness of the new accountability system. State schools Superintendent Susan Castillo Susan Castillo (born August 14 1951) heads the Oregon Department of Education as the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Although she currently holds an elective statewide non-partisan office, she is a Democrat, and served from 1997 to 2003 in the Oregon State , who has voiced strong support for the No Child Left Behind Act, says it's become clear that some elements - including aspects of the AYP designation - aren't working.
In her November "Superintendent's Update," an online newsletter, Castillo pledged to work with local educators and lawmakers to voice concerns about the law, and to travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby congressional leaders for changes.
"The heavy-handed 'one-size-fits all' approach calls for serious technical revisions, and it is time to push back on parts of (No Child Left Behind) that are not good for Oregon students," Castillo wrote.
The law requires all students to meet state standards in reading and math by 2014. States must set their own growth targets for every year until then.
Oregon's target this year was 40 percent hitting benchmarks in reading and 39 percent in math. Those apply to a school's overall population, as well as subgroups: whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific islanders Islanders may refer to:
Schools also must meet targets for test participation, attendance and, for high schools, graduation rates.
As Eliason found, schools that slip up in just one of those categories fail to make AYP. Schools that receive Title I funds - dollars earmarked for schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students - face successively harsher consequences if they continue to miss the mark. Those sanctions include providing tutoring or transportation to other schools if parents or students so choose and changing staff.
At the two Bethel schools that were upgraded, the designation changed because both schools, which did some state tests by computer for the first time, initially included the scores of special education students taking the computer tests with the general population, said Drew Braun, director of instruction and curriculum. When those students' scores were taken out and added to the scores of special education kids taking the test on paper, it raised the scores for the special education subgroup.
"When the report was issued in August it was pretty obvious there were errors," Meadow View Principal Jane Carter said, so no one was surprised by the reversal.
At Maple and Rhododendron, students who were part of programs that draw special education students from the region were mistakenly included in the school's special education count. While those students' scores and participation rates count in the district's overall AYP designation, they don't count toward the school's.
Principals and teachers say the minutiae mi·nu·ti·a
n. pl. mi·nu·ti·ae
A small or trivial detail: "the minutiae of experimental and mathematical procedure" Frederick Turner. of the assessments are difficult to explain to parents, who may wonder whether their child is getting a good education at a school that falls short of expectations.
But so far, parents have expressed little or no concern, school officials say. "We've heard nothing from parents regarding AYP, no requests, no comments at all," Maple Principal Jay Carter said.
Mark Zima, an eighth-grade teacher at Shasta, said he was disappointed to hear the news, but confident that parents know the school is strong, the teachers are excellent and their children are learning.
"The real downer down·er
A depressant or sedative drug, such as a barbiturate or tranquilizer. is the fact that I don't think the public understands what AYP means," he said. "It's a sound bite sound bite
A brief statement, as by a politician, taken from an audiotape or videotape and broadcast especially during a news report: "The box has been spitting forth maddening nine-second sound bites" - 'Oh, Shasta didn't make it.' Instead, let's look at just why Shasta didn't make it."
A preliminary Department of Education report in August listed whether schools met criteria laid out in President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. Here are the schools whose designations changed in Wednesday's final report:
Shasta Middle School: Did not meet
Meadow View School: Met
Danebo Elementary: Met
Maple Elementary: Met
Rhododendron Elementary: Met
Harrisburg High: Met
NOTE: Two schools, Ridgeline ridge·line
Noun 1. ridgeline - a long narrow range of hills
arete - a sharp narrow ridge found in rugged mountains Public Montessori School in Eugene and Rhododendron Primary in Florence, had pending ratings at the time of the first report. Both met standards.