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Progress at AHES touted at meeting

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Albert Harris Elementary School — which was identified by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) as one of 37 low-performing 2013-14 Priority schools in the state — has made some progress in student achievement in math and reading.

That’s what some officials and representatives of the school told the Martinsville City School Board at its meeting Monday night during a presentation about Albert Harris’ school improvement plan.

According to data presented, Albert Harris in 2013-14 implemented the i-Ready diagnostic to identify students in grades K-5 in need of interventions in reading and math. Students were scheduled to take the diagnostic in the fall, winter and spring.

In reading, over the course of the year, the percentage of students two or more grade levels below the expected grade level declined from 24 percent to 15 percent; the percentage of students functioning one grade level below expected grade level declined from 50 percent to 38 percent; and the percentage of students on or above grade level increased from 27 percent to 47 percent.

The report also said Albert Harris met 57 percent to 132 percent of the expected yearly reading growth in just 22 weeks: (on average for all students) 57 percent in kindergarten, 73 percent in grade 1, 63 percent in grade 2, 85 percent in grade 3, 132 percent in grade 4 and 74 percent in grade 5.

It said i-Ready is also instructional. In i-Ready online instruction in reading, a total of 15,984 lessons were completed, in 4,316 lesson hours, with an overall average passing rate of 87.6 percent.

According to i-Ready data, in math, over the course of the year, the percentage of students two or more grade levels below the expected grade level declined from 57 percent to 32 percent; the percentage of students functioning one grade level below expected grade level increased from 38 percent to 47 percent; and the percentage of students on or above grade level increased from 5 percent to 21 percent.

The report also said Albert Harris met 54 percent to 102 percent of the expected yearly math growth in just 22 weeks: (on average for students) 69 percent in kindergarten, 102 percent in grade 1, 84 percent in grade 2, 75 percent in grade 3, 94 percent in grade 4 and 54 percent in grade 5. “Albert Harris students had strong growth,” the report says of the growth in math and reading.

In i-Ready online instruction in math, a total of 20,215 lessons were completed, in 6,514 lesson hours, with an overall average passing rate of 82.4 percent.

AHES is a Title 1 school due to the number of students who receive free and reduced-price lunch (96 percent), a federal measure of poverty.

2013-14 was AHES’ first year as a Priority School. Five percent of Virginia’s Title I schools are identified as priority schools. AHES did not meet federal annual measurable objectives (AMOs) in reading and math. AHES was accredited with warning in reading and math by the state for 2013-14.

Strategies for making improvements include: professional development for all staff; review of master schedule; analysis of data, including SOL (Standards of Learning) and benchmark tests, attendance, discipline, etc.; collaborative planning within the school day; reporting progress to parents; identifying key stakeholders in the school and community; reaching out to the community; involving parents; and identifying and selecting a lead turnaround partner (Cambridge Education).

In addition to i-Ready, AHES used the PALS assessment to identify students in grades K-3 needing interventions in reading.

“The students who were struggling the most in each grade level were referred to the Problem Solving Team in order to create and implement specific/targeted interventions,” the report said.

It added: “The PALS assessment is used by the Reading Specialist to identify specific skill deficits that are linked to specific students — interventions are then created for those students depending on what that student needs — teachers and Reading Specialist provide those interventions for students.”

“I’m really excited to hear about the progress you are making,” Pastor J.C. Richardson, a member of the school board, told AHES officials.

MCPS Superintendent Pam Heath said Priority Schools go through a three-year process that is very regulated, but she has no doubt that AHES will succeed.

 

 
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