Sunday, August 14, 2011

Adequate Yearly Progress

Once again the issue of Adequate Yearly Progress and the Federal mandate to have all kids passing all state achievement tests by 2014 has popped up. Several years ago I wrote about how we looked past the tests at the school that my kids attend. As my kids roll up and out of one of the best schools around, I look back on what I wrote. Along with over half of the schools in our district, we once again failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress. We made it last year so the ramifications are less than they would be had we not made it last year, but something has to give. The idea of Federal waivers that will drive states towards holding teachers accountable for test scores (and towards Race to the Top which our state withdrew from), well, that's unacceptable. We can't hold teachers hostage and at the same time accountable for test results. SO much of my kids' day is already driven by SOL tests (that's what they are called in VA). Can't imagine what life will be like if there are waivers in place that tied the teacher's hands even further and they aren't allowed to actually teach? Sigh...

But for now I'll look back on what I wrote back in 2007, after only one year at our school. Four years later I would write exactly the same thing. And I feel much more passion for this school that does such a good job of bridging the divides that we see at other schools, that reaches those kids who are left behind at other schools, and looks at the whole child as a way to educate them.

October 05, 2007

Adequate Yearly Progress

BooksI recently had a discussion with a mother whose child was in preschool and she was wondering where to send her kiddo for Kindergarden. She was concerned about the low scores and also the large number of kids on free or reduced lunch at the local elementary school, yet she'd heard so many good things about the school. There was a diconnect. While some folks in the area understand all of the dynamics of the Fairfax County schools, not everyone "gets it." I know that we didn't when we first arrived here, yet I find myself regularly explaining to family and friends why the test scores don't accurately reflect the education that my son is getting at this school. Here is a blog entry I wrote a few weeks ago in response to the report that Fairfax County failed to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress across the board, and also as an answer to the question of why we send our son to this school.

"The Fairfax County school system for the first time failed to meet academic goals under the No Child Left Behind Act, largely because many students with limited English skills struggled on reading tests that were given in response to a federal order, according to school officials and scores released yesterday." -Excerpt from the Washington Post; By Maria Glod and Michael Alison Chandler; Washington Post Staff Writers; Friday, August 24, 2007; Page A01

My child attends a school that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) according to government standards.

My child attends a school that has not made AYP in the past as well.

My child attends a school where 45% of the students are not proficient in English.

My child attends a school where 54% of the students are on free or reduced lunch.

My child attends a school where he is a minority in many ways.

My child attends a school where 42% of the population participates in the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program.

But my child also attend a school where there are children from 40 countries that speak 20 different languages.

My child attends a school where there is true racial diversity - 14% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Black, 48% Hispanic, 26% While, and 5% Other.

My child attends a school where there were no serious incidents or firearm violations, and only two fights last year.

My child attend a school that has had more winners of the Fairfax County Teacher of the Year than any other elementary school.

My child attends a school with an outdoor habitat learning lab, a black box theater, a museum in progress, a state of the art communication lab where students produce their own TV shows and videos, a staffed math lab and a staffed science lab.

My child attends a magnet school for the arts and sciences.

My child attends a school that has a foreign language partial immersion program in Spanish.

My child attends a school that offers about 30 before and after school classes ranging from athletics to science to band to arts and crafts. These classes cover things like photography, healthy eating, drama, basketball, sewing, soccer, science experiments, and many more. These classes are open to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

My child attend a school where kids are given a chance to learn, regardless of where they came from or what language they speak.

My child attend a school where he learns.

My child attends a school he loves.

My child attends a school that really doesn't leave any child behind, regardless of the adequate yearly progress that we do or do not make.

This was posted at Confessions of a Not So Well Behaved Woman on August 26, 2007

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