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KRTV News

Aug 9, 2010 11:55 PM by Katie Stukey (KRTV-Great Falls)

Great Falls schools get mixed reviews in federal review

Nearly half of the public schools in Great Falls have some work to do if they want to make the grade under federal guidelines, according to the latest numbers released by the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

School administrators and trustees discussed the results during a meeting on Monday night.

Ten elementary schools currently meet or exceed the requirements of the No Child Left Behind act, but both high schools, both middle schools, and five elementary schools came up short.

The current guidelines say that 63% of students should be proficient in math and 83% in reading; that benchmark increases significantly next year, and by 2014, all students are expected to be proficient in math and reading.

During Monday's meeting, trustees approved the budget for the current fiscal year.

It's a total of just over $77-million dollars, and breaks down to about $6,000 per student. Compared to other AA districts in the state, administrators say that ranks close to the lowest amount spent per student.

The budget includes salary increases of 1.5% for teachers, administrators, and support personnel.

Beyond the budget, the district also received a grant of nearly $1-million dollars to improve American history education; Great Falls is the only district in the state to receive the money.

Here is information about the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and how Great Falls schools did:

Report on No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress

BACKGROUND
The federal law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, requires states to determine an Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) designation for every public school and district. AYP is determined by applying the multi-step process established in the law using the results of the Montana state test for schools with at least 30 students.
A school must achieve the annual target in reading and math as a whole school as well as in each of the eight or more subgroups that has 30 or more students. The smaller schools in Montana with less than 30 students in a subgroup have AYP determined by the small school process which the US Department of Education approved. It is important to note that all schools in Great Falls Public School district would achieve AYP if the small school process was applied. The law includes steps necessary for schools that miss an AYP target for more than two years.

DISCUSSION

The NCLB goal is that all students in all public schools in the United States will meet all AYP targets by the year 2014. The state of Montana has established annual targets that step up every three years to assure that 100% will be reached in 2014. If one subgroup within a school misses the annual target, the entire school and school district miss the target and do not make AYP. This process is only applied to schools that have subgroups of 30 or more students.

The majority of Great Falls Public Schools have met or exceeded AYP targets once more. These schools are Lewis and Clark Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Meadow Lark Elementary, Morningside Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Riverview Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Sacajawea Elementary, Sunnyside Elementary, and Valley View Elementary.

Chief Joseph Elementary, Loy Elementary, and West Elementary missed one target in the area of reading and/or math.

Longfellow Elementary and Whittier Elementary schools missed several targets in both reading and math.

East Middle School missed several targets in reading and math but made “Safe Harbor” in reading by reducing the number of students who scored not proficient on the state test.

North Middle School, C.M.Russell High School, and Great Falls High School missed several targets in reading and math.

Two years of missing AYP classifies a school and a district as “Improvement”, “Corrective Action”, or “Restructuring”. NCLB requires that students enrolled in classified schools receive an informational letter before the start of school

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