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NH principals give AYP reports

As expectations rise for schools to achieve AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) and improve under Public Law 221, administrators find it more difficult to do.
‘The state expects you to grow (scores) every year,’ Lance Richards, principal at Morgan Elementary School told the school board for North Harrison Community School Corp. during its regular meeting Thursday night.
‘The goal by 2014 is to have 100 percent of students pass ISTEP,’ he said. ‘Each year the bar gets raised.’
Those numbers at Morgan have fluctuated. Richards said 92 percent of the third graders at Morgan ‘ a grade that takes the ISTEP test ‘ passed this year.
‘We continue to do very well in AYP,’ he said.
In order for a school to make AYP, all student demographic groups within the school must pass state tests or show significant improvements toward passing. If any one group does not improve or pass, the entire school is labeled as failing to meet AYP.
‘I’m particularly proud with how we do with kids who are behind,’ Richards said. ‘We get them up to speed by the end of third grade.’
North Harrison Elementary, which teaches the other grade-school students in the school corporation, also passed AYP this go-round and achieved the exemplary level with regard to Public Law 221
‘We continue to align (curriculum) across all grade levels,’ said Principal Lisa Jones. ‘We’re matching standards to instruction and what needs to be mastered before’ students leave North Harrison Elementary.
The news coming out of North Harrison Middle School wasn’t as good.
The language score by special education students kept her building from making AYP this time, said NHMS Principal Karen Lambertus.
NHMS is now in the ‘academic watch’ category, she said.
While middle school students scored above state average, their improvement over the previous score was not enough.
To help achieve AYP, Lambertus said students who did not pass ISTEP will use study hall time for remediation and the staff will improve inclusion of special education students in English language classes.
Lambertus said she also hopes to encourage more middle schoolers to have pre-algebra and algebra before they move over to the high school.
A larger block of time will be used for science curriculum, she added.
‘We have good schools that feed into the high school,’ said Kelly Simpson, principal at North Harrison High School, which also passed AYP and improved in PL 221. ‘We’re an exemplary high school as far as I’m concerned’ even though AYP and PL 221 doesn’t rate NHHS that way.
NHHS has been taken off the academic watch list because of improvements.
Simpson said ‘there are so many scenarios’ that could play out if test dates are changed.
‘You don’t know how to react if you don’t know what the rules are,’ he said. ‘We’ll make adjustments. We always have.’