Making the grade: District meets 12 of 13 NCLB goals

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By Becky Barnes

Better than two-thirds of Harrison County's students are proficient readers.

According to the recently released No Child Left Behind scores, the local school district's reading goal was 53.04 percent. However, students exceeded that goal with a 64.4 percent proficiency level based on CATS results.

David Case, Harrison County district assessment coordinator, said students also exceeded the math goal. As a district, Harrison County needed 39.68 percent. There were 58.09 percent of its students scoring at the proficient.

Harrison County was one of 144 districts in the 175-district state, that met at least 90 percent of its goals, Case said. One-hundred-and-three districts met 100 percent of their goals.

"We're pretty solid at 92.3 percent," Case said.

The four elementary schools in Harrison County met 100 percent of their goals.

According to the No Child Left Behind Act, schools are required to have 100 percent of its students scoring at a proficient level by 2014.

Case explained that until that time, schools must continue to show progress by meeting its Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO). For a school or district to be considered successful, they must meet 100 percent of the target goals for the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

"We still want to increase our proficiency level so that all students are proficient," Case said. "It's a challenge we've been given and we accept that challenge and strive for it each and every day."

Eastside, Northside, Southside and Westside met 10 of 10 goals. Harrison County Middle School met 11 of 13, falling short in the areas of students with disabilities in reading and math. The high school also came up short in students with disabilities in reading as well as four areas of math for eight of 13 goals.

"We're pulling those students out for extra help during the day," Case said.

District wide, Harrison County met 12 of 13 goals.

Case detailed highlights from the scores for each of the schools in the district.

•Eastside increased the percent of proficient free/reduced lunch students in math by 13 points and all students by 5.8 points.

•Northside increased the percent of proficient free/reduced lunch students in math by 21 points and all students by 19 points.

•Southside increased the same sub-group in math by 13 points and all students by 13 points.

•Likewise, Westside gained 13 points for the sub-group of free/reduced lunch students. All students increased by eight points.

•HCMS was approximately 4.3 points above its reading goal and 19.8 points above its math goal.

•HCHS also increased its proficiency level for free/reduced lunch sub-group in math by eight points and students with disabilities by 2.4 points.

Case explained that there are numerous sub-groups identified by the state for scoring NCLB. These groups are white, African American, Hispanic, Asian, limited English proficiency, free/reduced lunch and special needs.

He noted that any one school must have at least 10 students in a particular group in each of the tested grades to be counted.

As long as Harrison County continues to show improvements and meet its goals, it will not be classified in one of the tier consequence groups, which then requires to school to draft a master plan for improvement.

According to Case, the district would have to miss the AYP goal two consecutive years to be a tier district.

In 2003-04, the district did not meet its AYP. However, it came back in 2003-04 and 2004-05 and did meet the goals. In 2005-06 it did not, but followed up in 2006-07 with goals met.

Students are tested in the third through eighth grades and 10th and 11th grades in math and reading.