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Several Black Belt schools make school improvement list

REGION-Since the No Child Left Behind Act was launched in 2001 a profound effort has been made to restructure public education in America and Alabama. As part of that effort, a list of schools is released annually who have not met their Adequate Yearly Progress.

This year, 12 Black Belt area schools were listed in four of five local counties. For Greene County, Eutaw Primary School, Greene County High School and Carver Middle School were all on the list. Hale County had Greensboro East High School and Sunshine High School listed. Marengo County schools listed were Marengo County High School and John Essex High School. Sumter County had Livingston High School, Sumter County High School and York West-End Junior High School listed. Perry County had no schools listed.

In city school systems Demopolis Middle School was listed as well as Linden Elementary School made the list.

Alabama State Board of Education Secretary and Executive Officer Jospeh B. Morton said the establishment of the Ruler, a tool to measure the progress of Alabama schools would be a great asset in reducing the number of schools on the list.

“The expectation of Alabama’s parents is for the system of public education to support the efforts of every school to significantly improve student achievement in reading, math, and other academic indicators,” Morton said. “The Education Ruler adopted by the State Board of Education establishes a goal of every school being safe, having good discipline, employing high quality teachers, offering a challenging curriculum, and being led by a effective leader. Full implementation of the Ruler will guarantee every student gets a quality education.”

One of the measures used is the AYP. Under NCLB, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is the term used to describe whether a school has met its annual accountability goals. State assessments are used to determine whether a school achieves AYP. Federal law requires schools to be evaluated in Reading, Mathematics, and an additional academic indicator. For Alabama, this indicator is Attendance in elementary and middle schools, and Drop-Out Rate for high schools. Depending on any combination of variables, such as grades and student demographics, a school and/or school system could have anywhere from five to 38 AYP goals. According to NCLB regulations, if a school misses even one of the established standards within its goals, the school is not considered to have met AYP.

Any school not meeting AYP on the same indicator for two consecutive years is designated as a School Improvement school. These schools must initiate an improvement process that specifically addresses the areas for which AYP was not made. Whereas NCLB uses the term AYP to describe whether or not a school system has met its goals for a specific year, the term School Improvement is used to describe a school or school system has not met its accountability goals over time.

Under federal law, all designated School Improvement schools that receive Title I funds must provide notification to the parents of every student, explaining what the designation means, the reason for the designation, what’s being done to address the problem, how the schools compare academically to others in the area, how parents can become involved in addressing the problem, and the option parents have to transfer their children to another public school not designated of improvement in the school district.