PLAINFIELD — Last week, school board members here learned about a few weak areas after Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) numbers were released.
Plainfield Community School Corporation’s Mary Giesting, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, explained the numbers.
“We do have plenty to celebrate,” Giesting said. “But we did find those areas that need to improve.”
The Indiana Department of Education released the AYP statistics on Nov. 23. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 has required public schools to make AYP for both overall student population and any demographic group within the school that includes 30 or more students.
In Plainfield, Central, Van Buren, and Brentwood elementary schools are three of 319 schools in the state who have made AYP each year since 2003.
“That really is a great accomplishment,” Giesting said. “What we have to remember about AYP is that the bar continues to rise each year.”
The goal of the NCLB is for all students to achieve proficiency in English/language arts and math by the year 2014.
“So when the bar keeps moving up you will get gaps and areas where you are going to struggle,” she said. “When you know where those skill gaps are, then you can put your resources there and find ways to improve.”
At Plainfield High School the number of the students who qualify for free and reduced lunches who passed the English performance test was 50.8 percent. The target number to pass was 59.1 percent.
“What we do now is to find out what we can do for those students to help them perform better,” Giesting said. “Do we need to keep the libraries open longer, offer them study materials, or more class time.”
The special education students at PHS also pass at a rate of 37.5 percent. The target number was 54.2 percent.
There was another area where the high school didn’t meet the math participation standard.
“The math participation standard is 95 percent and we had a 91 percent rate,” Giesting said. “People are going to ask why didn’t you give the test to all of your students.”
She said what the administration did not understand that even those students who did not pass the first semester of algebra I should have taken the test.
“What we do is if a student does not pass algebra I (a), the first semester of algebra, they take it over the next semester instead of going to algebra I (b), the second semester,” Giesting said.
She said the test procedure was not made clear to the administration until after is was administered.
“So we were going to have to try to change our procedures there,” Giesting said.
In addition to the AYP results, the corporation also recently learned its results of the Indiana Public Law 221 status of its schools. PL 221 is a state standard passed by Indiana lawmakers to help fulfill the NCLB act.
The results show that 38 percent of public schools made “exemplary” progress, 8 percent “commendable” progress, and 27 percent “academic” progress. Public schools in the lowest two categories, which are “academic watch” and “academic probation,” sit at 13 and 14 percent respectively.
CentralElementary School is one of 124 Indiana schools who has maintained an exemplary status since 2005.
“We have caring families who want their children to have a good education so we have all kinds of folks who will help us to make these goals,” Giesting added. “And we must not forget that we are not just teaching language arts and math. We are educating a whole child.”