Schools’ annual progress a mix

Published 1:11 pm Monday, August 13, 2012

Escambia County Schools hit most of their goals, according to the results of state accountability reports released this week by the Alabama Department of Education, but more improvement is needed, school officials said.

The reports detail how many goals each school achieved as part of Adequate Yearly Progress — or AYP — under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Two schools in Escambia County remain in school improvement status, a distinction that requires them to make improvement plans.

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Escambia County Superintendent Randall Little said the report shows some improvements throughout the system, while some schools continue to struggle in certain areas.

“Overall, I am satisfied with the latest AYP results,” Little said. “We won’t be completely satisfied until we’re at 100 percent. We will continue to strive to reach that 100 percent mark.”

In the county system, Little said schools reached 175 of the 181 goals in the AYP figures.

“If you look at it this means we were at a 97 percent rate on achieving our goals,” Little said. “These reports have made us focus more on data and analyzing that data to come up with a plan of implementation to make improvements.”

Escambia County Middle School failed to maintain or improve in only one area included in the report — putting the school in school improvement status for the second year in a row.

“Escambia County Middle School met 20 of the 21 goals in the assessment,” Little said. “The area not passed was in special
education reading. Although the school did not achieve AYP status, we are encouraged since each area that was passed also showed improvement in those levels. The students and teachers made strides and they are doing more than an adequate job. The faculty and staff are doing a good job and I am confident the students there are receiving a quality education.”

At Escambia County High School, AYP status was not reached putting the school in school improvement status for the sixth straight year. Little said the ECHS achieved only 11 of the 15 goals set forth by the AYP standards.

“We do have some concern and issues at the school,” Little said. “We have looked at the scores in math and reading and have already begun to come up with a structured plan to address these issues and hit them head on.”

Although ECHS remains in school improvement, Little said he is encouraged with progress made in recent years.

“We have made improvements across the board at ECHS over the last three years,” Little said. “Scores are better than they were three years ago and we will continue to set things in place to rectify the situation there and move forward. After looking at the scores, we know that we will focus more on reading this year for all students.”

Little said some of the steps planned to help reach AYP goals at both Escambia County Middle and Escambia County High Schools have already been put into motion by expanding student services.

“We will be seeing more supportive education services at the schools with tutoring and other services,” Little said. “I have confidence in (principal Zickeyous) Dr. Byrd and his staff and I have confidence that we will be successful. We will refocus and retool our efforts and give it our best for the sake of the students.”

W.S. Neal Elementary School met each of the 17 goals in the AYP standards, Little said.

“Not only did they meet all of their goals, they improved proficiency levels as well,” Little said. “I’m very proud of the work at W.S. Neal Elementary. The school is doing a good job.”

W.S. Neal Middle School achieved 17 of 17 goals set forth by AYP standards, Little said.

“W.S. Neal Middle School worked hard to achieve the goal,” Little said. “They also improved proficiency as well. We’re proud of their hard work.”

W.S. Neal High School did not fare as well with AYP scoring, falling below the goal meeting 15 of 16 goals, Little said.

“W.S. Neal High School did not make AYP and continue to be in school improvement status,” Little said. “The area where the goal was not reached for the school was in the black graduation rate. Our overall graduation rate at W.S. Neal High School is at 77 percent compared to the statewide rate of 72 percent. We have improved over the 2011 when our graduation rate was at 71 percent. Overall, we came out well. We’re not satisfied with the graduation rate that put the school in school improvement status. We will continue to work on improving in that area.”

Pollard-McCall Junior High School achieved AYP status, Little said, by meeting each of the 13 goals set by the standards.

“Not only did Pollard-McCall maintain their AYP status, they improved in many levels,” Little said. “Reading and math proficiency improved for the school and we are proud of their work to improve.”

Flomaton schools fared well with both elementary and high schools meeting AYP goals.

“Flomaton Elementary met all goals and showed improvement in proficiency levels in reading,” Little said. “At Flomaton High School, 14 of 14 goals were met with the graduation rate at 83 percent. Ultimately, we want to see all of our schools in the 85 to 90 percent range in the graduation rate.”

In the west end of the county, some schools have shown improvement in standard rankings and in proficiency improvement, Little said.

“Huxford Elementary, Rachel Patterson Elementary and A.C. Moore Elementary all met the goals assessed for AYP,” Little said.

“Each of the schools had 17 goals to meet and they met each one.”

Little said countywide efforts have shown that the system as a whole is meeting the challenge of educating students.

“Our job is to enhance and improve the learning of our students,” Little said. “That is what we are working toward and that is our ultimate goal.”