Five schools, along with school district, fail to make AYP

Five Shelby County schools, along with the Shelby County School District, failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress goals this year.

The school district missed AYP goals in reading proficiency for special education students in grades 3-8, as well as reading proficiency goals for special education students, Hispanic students, limited-English proficient students and students on free or reduced lunch for grades 9-12, according to a Shelby County Schools press release.

The five schools that missed their AYP goals were Thompson High, Calera Middle, Thompson Intermediate, Creek View Elementary and the Linda Nolen Learning Center.

Thompson High and Calera Middle both missed AYP in reading and math proficiency for special education students; Thompson Intermediate did not make AYP in reading proficiency for special education students; Creek View missed AYP in math proficiency for black students and students receiving free or reduced lunch; and the Linda Nolen Learning Center missed AYP in reading and math proficiency for all students, as well as for the graduation rate.

“We have high expectations for all children and our goal is to improve their capacity to learn, but we also must recognize that some of our students have more challenges than others,” said Superintendent Randy Fuller.

Shelby County Schools spokesperson Cindy Warner said school officials feel the current system is unfair for larger, more diverse school systems, such as Shelby County.

In order to make AYP under No Child Left Behind, schools must meet state goals in reading proficiency and participation and math proficiency and participation for all subgroups, such as students in special education or students who receive a free or reduced lunch. Schools must also meet state goals in attendance rate for elementary, intermediate and middle schools and graduation rates for high schools.

Schools and districts are only required to report AYP for subgroups with 40 or more students, Warner said.

“Larger, more diverse schools and districts such as Shelby County will find it increasingly more difficult to achieve AYP status because they are held accountable for more subgroups,” the press release read. “Smaller, less diverse schools and districts with less than 40 students in a subgroup do not have as many AYP goals to meet.”

The school system plans to work with the schools missing AYP through the Continuous School Improvement program. Special education programs throughout the district will be given close attention through specialists assigned to each school and specialized reading and math programs, among other tactics.

The Linda Nolen Learning Center will move into year three in school improvement status. The school system has developed a plan specifically for the LNLC to help improve graduation rates and reading and math proficiency. The other four schools missing AYP will not enter school improvement status because they made AYP last year, according to the press release.

However, the school system did see improvements in other areas, including the highest graduation rates in the system’s history. Calera High School had the system’s highest graduation rate at 97.75 percent. Also, math proficiency scores went up for the system’s middle school students.

“The Shelby County School District is proud of the efforts of our faculty and staff,” Fuller said. “We remain committed to meeting the individual needs of all our students.”