10 Schools make Adequate Yearly Progress; Change in federal policy could reflect growth in FWCS schools - March 25, 2008

Record Number: 3970
Displayed from: Mar 25, 2008 , until: Apr 25, 2008

Ten of Fort Wayne Community Schools' buildings, including two Title I schools, made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on data from the 2006-07 school year and results of the fall 2007 ISTEP+ exams. Bloomingdale, Brentwood, Croninger, Franke Park, Glenwood Park, Harris, Irwin, Maplewood and St. Joseph Central elementary schools and Lakeside Middle School met all the requirements of the federal accountability law. We're proud of the schools that met this measure under the No Child Left Behind Act, Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. We know how hard our students and staff in each building are working to make sure all children are educated to high standards. Eleven more schools missed making AYP by just one of the 37 measures for which schools are accountable. For nine of those 11, if just one more student had passed ISTEP+, the school would have made AYP. For example: If one more student at Nebraska Elementary had passed both the language arts and math exams, the school would have made AYP. If one more African-American student at Arlington Elementary had passed either the language arts or math exam, the school would have made AYP. If one more special education student at Lincoln Elementary had answered just one more question right on either the language arts or math exam, the school would have made AYP. Next year, schools that are close to making AYP, like Nebraska, Arlington and Lincoln, may not receive the same designation as schools not making AYP in multiple categories. The U.S. Department of Education is working to pilot a new accountability system differentiating schools that meet every target, those that come close and those that have many targets yet to meet. The U.S. Department of Education will select up to 10 states in the initial pilot of the program. Interested states must apply by May 2. If Indiana is one of the states chosen, Fort Wayne Community Schools would welcome the opportunity to work under the new system. There is a lot of good work going on in our buildings, but that isn't always reflected in the current federal measurement, Dr. Robinson said. Some of our schools make great strides from one year to the next, but if they can't check off every box, they are still labeled as failing. Study Elementary, for example, moved from meeting the requirements in eight of 12 categories last year to 13 of 14 categories this year, which means the school met more categories this year than it was held accountable for last year. But even with the improvements, the school didn't meet the requirements of the federal mandate. We welcome accountability, but the system also needs to recognize improvements made by schools, Dr. Robinson said. Constantly telling schools they aren't good enough is discouraging for staff and students who feel like they are giving it their all. We need to do all we can to support the good work happening while encouraging further improvement. Schools are reviewing their data and know they need to continue working to improve student achievement. They also know that making AYP is going to be more difficult next year for all schools in Indiana when the targets are raised. This year, schools had to have 65.7 percent of students passing English and 64.3 percent passing math to make AYP. Next year, those targets move to 72.6 percent in English and 71.5 percent in math.

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.