Schools shine in NCLB scores

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LaRue County achieves national standards for fourth straight year

By Ron Benningfield

For the fourth consecutive year, the LaRue County School District met all No Child Left Behind goals according to results released by the state department of education last week. All four LaRue County schools also met their targets this year.

“We do have some ups and downs in the data, but the final result is we met everything,” said Amanda Reed, district instructional supervisor.

The results are based on Kentucky Core Content Tests that public school students across the state took last spring in reading, math, science, social studies and on-demand writing.

Though Kentucky’s assessment system is in transition (with a new testing system to be in place by the 2011-12 school year), the KCCT is given to obtain federally required math and reading assessment data as well as to allow school systems to see how their students are performing in other core areas such as science, social studies and writing.

Of Kentucky’s 1,158 public schools, only 56 percent met all their NCLB targets. Each year the target for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) rises, meaning that a higher percentage of students must score at the proficient level for the school to be successful.

“Math goals have increased by about 10 percent per year with reading about 8 percent,” Reed said. For the 2009-10 year on which the recent report is based, 60 percent of LaRue’s students must have reached proficiency in math, 69 percent in reading for the district to be considered as making adequate progress.

NCLB requires all schools to reach 100 percent proficiency in math and reading by 2014 or suffer consequences including student transfers to other schools and even school reorganization of staff. 

Thirty-five districts out of the state’s 174 have met all goals four years in a row. Only 24 had all schools as well as their districts meet 100 percent of their targets last year.

“Of those 24 districts, only six are county systems like us,” said Reed. “The other 18 are independent districts which are typically smaller and have fewer targets to meet.” 

Fifteen percent of the state’s high schools met their targets while 35.2 percent of all middle schools reached all goals as did 73.9 percent of all elementary schools.   

Different schools vary in the number of goals to meet depending on the number of students enrolled in subgroups such as students with disabilities and different ethnicities. 

“Every child enrolled tests except for the students with the most severe disabilities who complete an alternate, rather than the standard, assessment,” said Reed. “Scores aren’t reported when fewer than 60 students of any subgroup are enrolled in a school.”

LaRue County Middle School’s percentages were higher than last year’s in reading, math and social studies; lower in science and writing.

“LCMS has had consistent growth four years in a row and is ahead of the state in all areas,” said Reed.

LaRue County High School gained ground over last year’s percentages in math and social studies, but fell in science, reading, and writing. The high school scored ahead of the state in math, science, and social studies.

Hodgenville Elementary improved over last year in math, but fell slightly in the other four areas tested. 

“They scored ahead of the state in math and writing,” said Reed.

Abraham Lincoln Elementary gained in reading, finishing ahead of the state average in reading and math, but dropped slightly in the other core areas.

Reasons for success

Reed said several initiatives have helped LaRue schools achieve their NCLB goals year after year.

“We include our special education students in the regular classroom to the fullest extent; staff and students believe they can achieve these goals; and we make instructional and administrative decisions based on what’s best for our students,” she said.