While one in every five Michigan public schools failed to meet yearly progress goals for the 2010-11 school year, most schools in Charlevoix and Emmet counties showed strong numbers.
In a report released Monday by the Michigan Department of Education, the yearly progress report showed that even while state test scores have been on the rise, higher proficiency targets required to meet the federal No Child Left Behind Act did result in fewer schools making adequate yearly progress this year.
Twenty-one percent of schools failed to meet adequate yearly progress for 2010-11, compared to 14 percent in 2009-10.
However, despite more schools not making the grade, every school in Michigan still received state accreditation.
“We must continue to set high expectations for our schools so our students are prepared for the competitive global economy,” said state superintendent of public instruction, Mike Flanagan. “But we need an accurate and honest reflection of where our schools are in preparing our students.”
Most schools in Charlevoix and Emmet counties received passing grades of A’s or B’s for 2010-11, although two schools were listed as needing some form of improvement.
Northwest Academy in Charlevoix was identified for corrective action and Beaver Island Lighthouse Program, which serves as a residential school education program for students ages 16-21, was listed as not meeting requirements for the first year.
Bob Alger, director of instructional services for Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District noted that schools within the district’s service area are dedicated to helping all students achieve to the best of their ability while facing financial cuts.
“Schools must prepare for these changes with fewer teachers in front of students, fewer administrative and support staff working with teachers, and fewer dollars to maintain currency and relevance of supplies and equipment used by our students,” Alger said.
John Scholten, superintendent of Petoskey Public Schools, said while he was proud that each of the schools in his district received A’s, he called the report a “snapshot of where a school is at that point in time.”
“While everyone strives to get all A’s, what this means is that we continue to make progress and we are showing improvements on an annual basis,” he said. “I am extremely proud of our students, staff and teachers for working together, but we also realize we still need to strive to make progress.”
“This helps us watch for trends,” said Jeff Liedel, superintendent of Alanson Public Schools, regarding the report.
Liedel, whose schools received a B grade, said the report offers helpful information, but it’s just one piece of data.
“It shows us trends over time and areas that we need to work on and areas in which we are doing well,” he said.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act, proficiency targets will increase and must reach 100 percent by the 2013-14 school year.
During the 2010-11 school year, the percent of students needing to be proficient on state assessments was raised by an average of 10 percent to be on track with the 100 percent proficiency required by the 2013-14 school year.
Although schools within the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District service area continue to make gains in achievement, raising the requirements next year will be a challenge for everyone, said Jennifer Sabsook, coordinator of school improvement services with the ISD.
“Our ISD staff are working diligently to help prepare area schools for this change by training them about what these scores mean and how to continually improve to address student success,” Sabsook said. “We’re also working with teachers and administrators to help them explain to parents and community members the impact these scores have on the grade a school receives.”
“Raising the bar means it will be recalculated and everyone is going to have to deal with it,” Scholten added.
“For us, it is a target that moves once and awhile, but we will continue to remain focused on the target and will continue to strive to make progress each year.”
To make adequate yearly progress, a school must test 95 percent of its students. The school must also attain the target achievement goal in English language arts and mathematics, or reduce the percentage of students in the non-proficient category of achievement by 10 percent.
The school must also meet or exceed the other academic indicators set by the state, including graduate rate for high schools and attendance rate for elementary and middle schools.
There are three stages when describing adequate yearly progress. The stages include “Identified for School Improvement, “Identified for Corrective Action” and “Identified for Restructuring.”
Schools that do not make adequate yearly progress for two or more consecutive years are placed on the federally-required consequences list.
The consequences get progressively more severe with each additional year a school does not make progress, ranging from having to provide school choice and transportation to another school, to tutorial services for the students, to eventual school restructuring.
To view a school’s report or for more information, visit www.mischooldata.org.