AYP shows FWCS in line with urban districts - May 19, 2006

Record Number: 2494
Displayed from: May 19, 2006 , until: Jun 12, 2006

Fort Wayne Community Schools echoes Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reeds' praise for the No Child Left Behind federal legislation's focus on high expectations and accountability in public schools. At the same time, as Reed noted, AYP clearly is not the "best reflection of the headway students and schools are making." Today, as Indiana releases 2005 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) annual performance information for schools, it does so against a backdrop that measures progress differently for large urban districts such as FWCS, which has to meet all criteria in 37 categories to be successful, but is labeled failing if it does not succeed in just one of those categories. Smaller, suburban schools do not have enough students in each subgroup from ethnic to free/reduced lunch - for the subgroup to be counted. That means they have fewer categories to measure to be successful. According to Lowell Rose of The Star's Leadership Group in Indianapolis, schools that do not make AYP will be those with the highest special education breakout and those that have a very high percentage of black, Hispanic and/or students who come from poverty. Urban school districts like FWCS proudly boast these student populations and continue to work hard to provide support to reinforce achievement, but that improvement may not be taking place as fast as the No Child Left Behind accountability bar continues to rise each year. AYP results from the state Department of Education show the following FWCS schools made AYP: Brentwood, Bunche, Croninger, Franke Park, Irwin, Nebraska, Pleasant Center, St. Joseph Central and Study elementary schools and Memorial Park Middle School. Other good news for FWCS includes: * Three schools have made AYP four years in a row Brentwood, Bunche and Pleasant Center elementary schools. * Study Elementary School made AYP and has earned its way out of Title I School Improvement status. * Nebraska Elementary School made AYP and thus avoided Title I School Improvement status. * Franke Park had the greatest number of subgroups of any FWCS school and made AYP. * The following schools improved over 2004 AYP in each subgroup for both English and Mathematics: Bunche, Franke Park, Price, Study, Washington Center elementary schools and Elmhurst High School. * 22 schools improved in at least 2/3 of their AYP categories.
* Seven schools missed making AYP by one cell: Bloomingdale, Harris, Indian Village, Lincoln, Price, Scott elementary schools and Miami Middle School. * Bloomingdale Elementary School and Elmhurst High School achieved all academic criteria, missing only the "other" category attendance and graduation rate, respectively. These results reveal that FWCS' hardworking teachers, new data systems, on-going training and adjustments to its quarterly assessment system that identify individual student needs are working to enhance student progress. In addition, the successes show the district's School Improvement Plans are targeted appropriately. "As a large urban school district, we continue to work hard to meet the accountability demands of the NCLB legislation," said Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson. "We are committed to putting systems in place that will identify areas where instruction needs to be focused, as well as providing support and training to enhance learning for all students."

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.