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Some Schools Fail to Make AYP

Catoctin Fails for Second Year

Loudoun County Public Schools released Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports by the federal Department of Education Thursday, Aug. 24, that showed 17 schools did not make the grade.

Forty-nine schools out of 66 schools that took the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests this year made AYP, with the status of five schools, Ball’s Bluff and Leesburg elementary schools and Mercer, Smart's Mill and Seneca Ridge middle schools, status yet to be determined.

Out of the 1,914 test cells measured by AYP as part of federal No Child Left Behind legislation, LCPS did not make AYP in 49 of them. According to School Board member J. Warren Geurin (Sterling), many of the tests shortfalls have to do with Limited English Proficiency students taking grade-level tests in English, instead of alternative tests formerly accepted under No Child Left Behind.

All five elementary schools in Sterling Park did not make AYP for the first time this year, Geurin said.

"When they took the other test, they did just fine," he said. "It wouldn’t be fair to judge any one school based on the results of one test. These are all very good schools."

WITHIN THE next few weeks, Geurin said administrators of schools that did not make AYP will reconstruct school improvement plans to do more targeted instruction for those students who did not perform well on the tests.

"We have all the resources we need," he said. "I’m well convinced faculty will in fact be able to more directly target those students who need the most help."

As chairman of the curriculum and instruction committee, Geurin will review the school improvement plans of those schools that did not make AYP.

The School Board is also working on a list of recommended changes to the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, which it anticipates to complete at its Sept. 4 meeting.

"The plain fact is, systemwide we have made terrific progress," Geurin said.

"There are demonstrations of valiant efforts across our schools in this AYP report," said Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Sharon Ackerman. "One example of the results of strong focus and teamwork can be seen in Park View High School, which had been identified as ‘not making AYP’ two years ago. This year, Park View’s African-American pass rates improved by 34 percentage points over the 2005-2006 results. Hispanic students improved by 9 percentage points."

DURING THE 2006-2007 school year, 12 schools did not make AYP, including Catoctin, Forest Grove, Guilford, Rolling Ridge, Sterling, Sugarland, Sully and Tobert elementary schools, and Eagle Ridge, J. L. Simpson, River Bend and Sterling middle schools.

In 2005-2006, nine schools did not make AYP.

For the first time, a Title I school, Catoctin Elementary School, did not make AYP for the second year in a row. Under No Child Left Behind, students from Catoctin have the option to transfer to Lucketts or Sycolin Creek elementary schools.

Title I schools meet a threshold for free- and reduced-price lunches. LCPS has 10 elementary schools that are designated for Title I funding.

<1b>— Kim Centazzo