This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

District MCAS Scores Still Lag in AYP

District MCAS scores were released by the state today, and as Dr. Galinski indicated in a memo to parents last week, Beverly continues to rate as "needs improvement" in the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) ratings in both Math and English in certain student subgroups. The district was newly identified last year as needing improvement in these areas, and this year's report indicates that no improvement was made in English, and "improvement below target" in Math. 

In last week's memo Galinski stated:
This designation is based upon a compilation of MCAS scores for Mathematics and ELA [English Language Arts] in all grades and all schools in the district and to the degree students in the schools have attained participation, performance, attendance and graduation goals. This information indicates that more work is needed by principals, teachers and parents to ensure that all students are successful.

The district will be revising the district improvement plan to address the reasons for low student performance in Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) for the identified student subgroups.
While the overall (aggregate) student population in the district did make AYP,  many individual schools also missed that target in English and/or Math. The accountability ratings for each individual school is as follows:

Ayers/Ryal Side
North Beverly
Briscoe Middle School
Beverly High School

The ratings show that all schools except Cove and Hannah currently have some degree of AYP status issues; all schools except Hannah and BHS missed the aggregate AYP this year in either Math or English; and only Hannah met AYP in both aggregate and all subgroups in both Math and English. While Cove failed to meet AYP in Math this year, it takes two consecutive years of missed AYP to trigger any warning status.

An explanation of the accountability ratings can be found here, and Dr. Galinski gave a detailed presentation on the assessment process, and the increasing difficulty of making AYP at last year's State of the Schools program.

The Boston Globe also has an overview on the results which suggests that Beverly is not unique, and casts a critical eye on the ratings system itself.
Fifty-seven percent of the state's schools are failing to measure up under federal achievement standards, education officials announced this afternoon. ...

...The state also announced that 123 school districts, including 32 independently run public charter schools, failed to meet test score targets under No Child Left Behind.

State education officials have expressed frustration that the No Child Left Behind Law is forcing them to give so many schools negative designations, believing that many of the schools are providing solid academic programs. Many local school officials say it's unrealistic to expect that 100 percent of children, regardless of learning disabilities and fluency in English, will score proficient.
Look for more detail and analysis of these numbers in the coming days.

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