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Carroll County Schools meets all No Child Left Behind Goals

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By The Staff

By JEFF FREMIN

Special to The News-Democrat

The Carroll County School District met all 13 of its Annual Measurable Objectives required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.  

Testing data from the spring 2008 state assessment released on Aug. 5 showed that the Carroll County School District is making adequate yearly progress.

“We have been making steady progress over the past few years,” said Lisa James, Superintendent of Carroll County Schools, “but this is the first time we have met all of our district goals for No Child Left Behind.”

According to the data, Kathryn Winn Primary, Cartmell Elementary, and Carroll County Middle School also met their Adequate Yearly Progress goals.  Carroll County High School met nine of its 12 Annual Measurable Objectives and increased the number of students in reading and mathematics who scored proficient or distinguished.

“I’m extremely proud of our students and staff,” James said. “Everyone’s hard work over the past few years is really paying off.”

According to the 2008 No Child Left Behind report, the number of students in the district scoring proficient or distinguished in reading increased from 63.76 percent in 2007 to 66.39 percent in 2008. Mathematics scores jumped dramatically, from 48.83 percent in 2007 to 60.28 percent scoring proficient and distinguished in 2008.   

James attributes much of the increased scores to staff members making sure that those students on free and reduced lunches and those with disabilities master essential reading and mathematics skills.  These students typically have scored lower than the population as a whole.

“Our students with disabilities and those who receive free and reduced lunches have made tremendous gains,” said James. “We’re closing the gap, especially, between regular education and special education students.”

For example, the percentage of Carroll County students with an identified disability who scored proficient or better in mathematics more than doubled from 16.90 percent in 2007 to 41.82 percent in 2008.  In 2007, there was a gap of 31.93 points in mathematics between the total population and those with disabilities. In 2008, the gap had shrunk by 13.47 points. The difference between the groups is now only 18.46 points.

James points out that what’s even more noteworthy is that mathematics scores for the total population grew by 11.45 points while the mathematics scores for the disability populations grew by almost 25 points (24.92).

Gains in reading among students with disabilities were more modest, but 46.67  percent of those students reached proficiency, an increase of 11.92 points over the 2007 results (34.75 percent).

No Child Left Behind legislation requires that all students in schools and districts who receive federal Title I funds must reach proficiency in reading and mathematics by 2014. Subpopulations (based on ethnicity, income level, or disability status) making up more than 15 percent of the total student population must also meet the same levels of proficiency. The Carroll County School District met all 13 of its Annual Yearly Progress goals, including those in math and reading for students with disabilities and those who receive free and reduced lunches.

“We’ve reached a lot of kids we’ve never reached before,” said Bill Hogan, Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer.  “In some of our grades, 65 percent of special education students are meeting proficiency, and it’s well above that among students on free and reduced lunches in other grades.”

Cartmell Elementary School and Kathryn Winn Primary (whose scores in third, fourth, and fifth grades are combined) had 10 Annual Yearly Progress goals for 2007-08.   For the sixth year in a row, the two schools have met all of their goals.  

Overall, 68.64 percent of Carroll County’s elementary school students scored a proficient or distinguished in reading, which exceeded the goal of 60.45 percent. In mathematics, those students increased their rate of proficiency from 51.74 percent in 2007 to 61.95 percent in 2008.  Finally, elementary school students who receive free and reduced lunches increased their proficiency in mathematics from 38.79 percent in 2007 to 50.90 percent in 2008.  

Carroll County Middle School met all 10 of its Annual Yearly Progress goals.  The percentage of students reaching proficiency in mathematics jumped dramatically from just under half (49.88 percent) to nearly two-thirds (65.33 percent).  Scores for students who receive free and reduced lunches also increased at a similar rate, from 35.81 percent in 2007 to 57.58 percent in 2008.  

While neither Carroll County’s elementary schools, nor Carroll County Middle School had to meet Annual Yearly Progress goals for students with disabilities, Carroll County High School did have a disability subpopulation of over 15 percent, requiring it to meet 12, rather than 10, goals.

The three goals that Carroll County High School missed were in mathematics and reading for students with disabilities.  While 40.54 percent of students receiving free and reduced lunches scored proficient or distinguished in reading, exceeding the school’s goal of 39.45 percent for these students, the school did not meet the goal in mathematics for that same group.     

Carroll County High School did increase its overall percentage of students reaching proficiency in reading, from 50 percent in 2007 to 55.19 percent in 2008.

The No Child Left Behind law requires assessing all third- through eighth-grade students in reading and math.  At the high school level, reading is assessed in 10th grade, and mathematics is assessed in 11th.  

 James said that each of the schools continues to refine interventions so that struggling students are identified early and given the extra help they need to reach proficiency.

Additional steps, through a process known as Response to Intervention, will be in place at all schools this year.

“In Carroll County Schools, we’re trying to encourage all people to be a champion — or an advocate — for kids,” said James, referring to the district’s new slogan.  “It takes everyone in the community working together to make sure that no child is left behind in Carroll County.”

For more information on No Child Left Behind scores, see the Kentucky Department of Education website, www.education.ky.gov/kde, or contact Pam Williams or Bill Hogan at (502) 732-7070.

Jeff Fremin is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.