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School board gets Annual Yearly Progress testing results

“WHAT AN EXCITING EVENT,” said Superintendent Jack Robertson about the modular classrooms leaving town. Leased from an Oxford, Maine company, Schiavi Leasing Corp., the two double units, which had most recently occupied the front lawn of the high school and which the district had been renting for 10-plus years now, were hauled away and returned during the district’s April vacation. Originally located at Carpenter School, the modular classrooms moved to the middle school in 1997 when Crescent Lake School opened and the middle school’s VISTA Team was able to make use of them. Over the years the district has leased several additional units from the company as building projects at individual schools were underway. With the current Kingswood Complex building project nearing completion and an additional 152,448 square feet of new space to utilize between the middle and high schools as well as the Lakes Region Technology Center, there is no longer any need for the modulars. (Heather Terragni photo) (click for larger version)
May 10, 2012
WOLFEBORO — Director of Curriculum Heather Cummings attended the Governor Wentworth Regional School Board meeting last Monday evening, May 7, in order to provide an Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) summary for Fall 2011.

"In the four years that I've now been here as part of Governor Wentworth," she started out, "this is by far the most exciting information that I've had to present."

Based on 2011 NECAP testing results held last fall in grades three through eighth and at the secondary level in eleventh, AYP assesses the prior year's teaching performance. It is a part of The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) that falls under the purview of the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which aims to achieve a 100 percent index score in reading and math for all students by the year 2014.

"NECAP is really meant to measure how well the curriculum is aligned to the state standards and grade level/span expectations," said Cummings, commenting on how oftentimes when the testing results come out individual students or subgroups of students get focused on.

"Though we're able to disaggregate the scores for individual students, the intent of NECAP was never to target children."

There are 19 decision points that make up AYP status, including nine subgroups that the scores are broken up into such as individual ethnicity groups, economic status of a student, educational disabilities, non- or limited English proficiency, as well as the whole school. Given the performance of each subgroup, the participation of each is then taken into account. If a subgroup fails to meet 95 percent participation in any one category then they cannot make AYP status. Another factor considered is attendance for grades three through eighth and graduation rate for secondary school.

Based on this latest round of testing 332 of N.H.'s 469 schools (71 percent) have missed AYP status in one or more areas, Cummings reported, and 330 of those are designated as a "School In Need of Improvement (SINI)."

"[These discouraging results] were predicted a long time ago when AYP went into effect," explained Cummings, "it's not surprising to those of us who have been watching this."

Additionally there are now 101 districts identified as a "District in Need of Improvement," up from last year's 87, of which Governor Wentworth is one.

Governor Wentworth's good news

"However," Cummings said, "out of the 26 percent of N.H. schools that made AYP in all areas for the 2011-12 year, four of our schools are included."

Crescent Lake School, Effingham Elementary, Ossipee Elementary and Kingswood Regional Middle School have made AYP across the board in both reading and math this year. It was a feat that didn't come easily, as each has worked hard to implement supports and restructure curriculum to better align with the state's requirements.

This come as really exciting news for the middle school after not having made AYP for the past six years and having been designated a SINI for the past four. Now, the school is no longer in restructuring mode and has exited the SINI status for reading. Because a school must make AYP two years consecutively in order to exit SINI status, the middle school will remain a SINI for math.

"There's so much negativity right now around public education that it's really important to be ale to pause and look at all the wonderful things that are going on here," elaborated Cummings, who later added how proud she is to be associated with the district "and to be able to share this news with [the board]."

Cummings' charts showed that the index scores for each school in both math and reading either remained the same or showed growth. In grades three through eighth the index score totaled a 94.5 and 90.8 in reading and math respectively. Grade 11 test results showed an index score of an 89 in reading (up from 79.5) and a 60 in math (up from 52.6).

"This indicates that our schools are really working hard to align with standards that have been set forth," stated Cummings of the results. This year 12 subgroups have moved from not making AYP in 2011 to making AYP in 2012 and the growth has been in all areas across the district.

The high school especially showed tremendous growth after having transitioned from not making AYP in any area in 2011 to making it in all but one category for 2012.

Additionally the middle school and Ossipee Elementary earned AYP status across the board.

Regardless of this positive information the district still remains a DINI (year three) in mathematics and continues to implement math supports and tools in order to better align with the state standards.

The future of the NECAP

In the spring of 2015 NECAP testing will go away for both reading and math as New Hampshire, along with 30-plus other states, transitions to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The SBAC system will consist of writing, listening, speaking and mathematical practices and may include performance tasks, Cummings reported.

"In terms of an assessment that's valuable to educators with timely information this is the assessment that appears to be able to serve that need."

For her clear and concise presentation Superintendent Jack Robertson and Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Cuddy-Egbert both took a moment to thank Cummings and added what a benefit she has been to each of the district's schools.

Regarding the tremendous amount of work each school has put towards improving itself Robertson added that, "the best part of all of this is that it's never been about testing. It's about the kids and helping them reach out for their potential. These folks (meaning Cummings, Cuddy-Egbert, and the teachers and staff of each school) have committed their lives to helping kids reach out for every opportunity that's available to them."

More from this meeting will be covered in next week's paper.

View this meeting in its entirety online at the Wolfeboro Community TV Web site http://wolfeborocommunitytelevision.com or watch it on local channels 25 or 26.

The school board will meet again on Monday evening, June 4, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Lakes Region Technology Center's Skylight Dining Room.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
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