All but two Portales schools miss AYP

By Karl Terry: Freedom Newspapers

Roosevelt County Schools saw little change in schools under scrutiny from the pass/fail system known as Adequate Yearly Progress.
Portales schools are still plagued by failure in subgroups, especially students with disabilities, and several have slipped into the corrective action designation.

School officials in the county say they are generally pleased with the overall progress students are making.

Portales Municipal Schools failed AYP in all but two of its schools: Lindsey Elementary and Broad Horizons Center, an alternative school.
Other schools in the district, including Portales High, Portales Junior High, Valencia, James, Steiner and Brown elementaries, failed to meet AYP. Each of those schools stumbled in the students with disabilities subgroup for math and reading except Valencia, which only failed in reading in that subgroup. In addition, Portales High School also failed reading in the Hispanic subgroup.

The overall student scores, attendance and graduation marks and other subgroups passed in all Portales schools.

“I think they’re doing well within a system that is basically nonsensical,” Portales board member Alan Garrett said. “A system that requires all students to improve at the same rate is not logical. Overall, we’re doing quite well.”

Garrett, who has a doctorate in education, said that not everyone learns in the same way or at the same rate. He said that while the federal No Child Left Behind Act’s premise is admirable, its evaluations aren’t practical or fair.

The only school in Portales not carrying a corrective action designation at this point is Lindsey. Schools receive that designation after the fourth year of failing AYP. After two years of making AYP that designation can be upgraded.

Floyd failed AYP in the middle school category with the elementary and high school passing. The failure for Floyd came in the economically disadvantaged subgroup, where it failed math and reading, and Hispanic subgroup, where it failed math.

Floyd Superintendent Paul Benoit said the focus for him and the school board has been on individual results, which show more than 70 percent of the students have maintained or improved their proficiency in the tested subjects.

“The push on analyzing the data has resulted in great improvement in analyzing data,” Benoit said. “The use of that data as educators is wonderful. Has it improved our method of delivery? No.”

Benoit said that when he arrived two years ago, the middle school was failing AYP miserably. He said he felt fortunate that they were able to make big gains with those student groups and even made AYP in the middle school last year.

In Dora and Elida, which are small enough to avoid the minimum 25 students for a subgroup, AYP was made across the board.

“I am pleased that the school made AYP,” said Elida Superintendent Jack Burch. “But I feel there may be a little too much emphasis on AYP. The larger districts are really having problems with the subgroups.”

Portales schools missing AYP
• Brown Elementary — Did not meet math proficiency: students with disabilities. Did not meet reading proficiency: students with disabilities.
• James Elementary — Did not meet math proficiency: students with disabilities. Did not meet reading proficiency: students with disabilities.
• Valencia Elementary — Did not meet reading proficiency: students with disabilities
• Portales Junior High — Did not meet math proficiency: students with disabilities. Did not meet reading proficiency: students with disabilities.
• Steiner Elementary — Did not meet math proficiency: students with disabilities. Did not meet reading proficiency: students with disabilities.
• Portales High — Did not meet math proficiency: students with disabilities. Did not meet reading proficiency: students with disabilities, Hispanic.
• Floyd Middle — Did not meet math proficiency: economically disadvantaged and Hispanic. Did not meet reading proficiency: economically disadvantaged.