School districts pass state standards

Published 1:26 am Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Brewton City and Escambia County school systems both met their academic goals this year, according to state test results released Monday — but teachers will now get down to business looking at individual results to see how to continue improvements.

Both school systems overall met “adequate yearly progress” — a term used in the federal No Child Left Behind Act to define which schools are meeting academic standards.

“It’s a great thing,” Superintendent Billy Hines said. “We didn’t (make AYP) last year, so we have reason to celebrate in our county. Our scores overall have much improved.”

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But both Hines and Brewton City Schools Superintendent Lynn Smith said teachers will now look at individual results to see how to improve.

“They’re not resting,” Smith said of teachers and administrators. “They’re figuring out how to work with students to get better.”

In particular, teachers will look at how different subgroups — broken out by race and economic status — performed, Smith said.

“That’s one of the positive things about No Child Left Behind,” Smith said. “We can look at the different subgroups and recognize we’ve got to be able to address that.”

Making — or not making — AYP can come down to just a few points in just one category.

For example, W.S. Neal High School did not make AYP because it missed the graduation rate goal of 90 percent by just 2 percentage points.

Some schools improved their results, such as W.S. Neal Middle School, which made AYP this year after not making it last year.

“We are certainly encouraged by the improvements we’ve seen this year,” Hines said.

Scores for reading and math are broken down into different groups by race, special education and whether the student qualifies for free or reduced lunch.

For some schools, those categories do not have enough students to factor into whether they make AYP — but teachers and administrators still look at those students’ results to analyze how they can improve, officials said.

“Even the ones that didn’t make it, we are encouraged by the results,” Hines said. “We already know what we have to do to make things better. We are already working on solutions to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

“In a year when everyone predicted everyone would go down — we went up.”