11.24.14: Adequate Yearly Progress update for 2014-15 school year
11.24.14: Adequate Yearly Progress update for 2014-15 school year
Posted on 11/24/2014

Last spring, the U.S. Department of Education declined to renew a Washington state waiver that lifted some sanctions in the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.


As a result, a majority of schools and school districts across the state, including the Puyallup School District, learned over summer that they did not meet “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) as defined by the federal law.


To meet AYP, 100 percent of all students must have met math and reading proficiency standards by 2014.


Test results are broken down by ethnic group and poverty level. If one category of students fails to meet its goals, the whole school fails AYP.


Districts and schools that did not meet those standards and also receive Title I federal funds, which provide academic support for at-risk and low-income learners, face a series of consequences until they meet AYP for two consecutive years.


School improvement


Letters were mailed home in August to families of Firgrove, Karshner, Sunrise, and Waller Road elementary students informing them that their schools have been identified in a step of improvement.


Schools in step one of improvement gave their families an option, as required by law, to transfer their children to a nearby school that is not in a step of improvement.


As of early October, less than 3 percent of the families at the four elementary schools in steps of improvement chose to transfer their students to a different school, said Liz Knox, assistant director of Title I and the Learning Assistance Program (LAP).


Parents of children enrolled at schools in step two of improvement were given that same option or, if they elected to keep their students at their home attendance schools, could opt to receive free tutoring services.


The tutoring, provided outside of the school day by state-approved educational providers, was only available to families whose children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches and are academically below standard.


Of the 502 students eligible at the two elementary schools in step two of improvement, just over 5 percent chose to receive the free tutoring services, Knox said.


District improvement


With the loss of the federal waiver, the Puyallup School District joins a majority of the 295 districts statewide in being identified as not meeting AYP.


This year, the district is in step two of improvement. As a result, it must develop a districtwide improvement plan to address strategies to help schools better meet the needs of each student.


The district will receive technical assistance from state education officials to develop its improvement plan, said Kathy Ehman, chief special services officer.


Because the No Child Left Behind Act requires the lofty goal that 100 percent of students meet standard, it is predicted that most, if not all, schools here and across the state will be in a step of improvement by 2017, Ehman said.


Ironically, she said, many of the schools in Puyallup identified as being in a step of improvement are the same ones that have won state awards in recent years for improving student achievement.