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Most schools meet goals

The Lincoln County School System has yet to meet 100 percent of its goals regarding Adequate Yearly Progress, but school officials are remaining optimistic.
“Two high schools, one middle school and three elementary schools that did not make AYP last year met all their goals this year,” said Elaine Jenkins, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “By any measure this has been a successful year.”
Even so, four out of 21 schools failed to reach 100 percent of their goals. According to the federal No Child Left Behind law, these schools have failed completely.
“It’s a real-high standard in terms of looking at subgroups of students,” said Jenkins. “We still have some work cut out for us.”
Asbury School, East Lincoln Middle School, Pumpkin Center Middle School and West Lincoln Middle School all failed to meet the required 100 percent of their goals.
AYP measures subgroups of students through standardized testing in reading and math.
These subgroups include minority students, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and students who have limited English proficiency.
If a school fails to meet AYP two years in a row and receives federal Title I funding, students enrolled in the school have the opportunity to transfer to another school in the school system that has met AYP.
Transportation must be supplied by the school system.
In Lincoln County, West Lincoln Middle is the only school receiving Title I funds that has failed AYP.
The school met 15 out of 17 target goals, or 88.2 percent.
“I think the staff worked hard, and the students worked hard,” said Jenkins. “We are still pleased with their successes.”
Students at West Lincoln Middle will now have the option of attending Lincolnton Middle School.
West Lincoln Middle’s school improvement team has already begun to address the situation.
“I think we’re going to look at this in a positive way,” said Ron Deaton, principal of West Lincoln Middle. “We’ll take this as a challenge and sharpen our focus, and we’ll move forward.”
Deaton believes that parents, teachers and students still feel that West Lincoln Middle is an exceptional school, and improvement was shown in the AYP results.
“Even the subgroup that didn’t make it, we were close, but close is not good enough,” said Deaton. “You either make it or you don’t.”
Overall scores on AYP have improved in Lincoln County since last year.
This year 81 percent of schools in Lincoln County made AYP. The first year of testing only 55.6 percent of schools made AYP.
All elementary schools and high schools in the county made AYP, and the school system reached 97.92 percent of their target goals.
Many school officials feel frustrated with the all-or-nothing measuring approach of NCLB.
“The feds have created up a situation that you are going to have some failure,” said Superintendent Jim Watson.
Even so, officials still hope to achieve all the goals set before them.
“We need to work to keep 100 percent of kids on grade level,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins encourages parents and other adults involved in children’s lives to help the progress. Reading, she believes, is essential to a child’s success.
“The emphasis on reading at home has never been greater,” said Jenkins.by Sarah Grano

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