9 schools meet AYP

Nine Catawba County schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress standards set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act. And officials offer praise to the schools that did make the AYP, even if they feel it's not acceptable testing.

"One child in a subgroup can hold you back," said Catawba County Schools Superintendent Glenn Barger.

With about 40 students in each subgroup, Barger said he does not think the AYP results are an appropriate way to rate school systems.

The various subgroups are created on different factors, such as educational disadvantages, minorities, English as a Second Language students and economically disadvantaged students. The number of subgroups changes yearly, such as Blackburn Elementary increased to more than 20 subgroups for the 2010-11 results, when in 2009-10, the school had 13 subgroups.

"The number of economically disadvantaged students has increased in many schools because of unemployment numbers and students who qualify for free and reduced lunch," Barger said.

In addition, Barger said one student can be in two different subgroups and be counted twice in the AYP results.

In Catawba County Schools, Banoak Elementary, Clyde Campbell Elementary, Sherrills Ford Elementary, Tuttle Elementary and Challenger Early College High School met the 2010-11 AYP standards.

In Newton-Conover City Schools, South Newton Elementary and Newton-Conover Health Science High School met AYP for the last school year.

Over in Hickory Public Schools, Viewmont Elementary and Hickory Career Arts and Magnet High School met the goals.

AYP targets increased this year.

In reading, the goal increased 30 percent from 43.2 percent to 71.6 percent in third through eighth grades. In mathematics, the goal went from 77.2 percent to 88.6 percent for third through eighth grades.

For high school mathematics, the percentage increased from 68.4 to 84.2 and reading levels increased from 38.5 percent to 69.3 percent.

"That's the biggest jump in proficiency standard since AYP started," Barger said. "We are extremely proud of the schools that have made it."

By 2014, the AYP will be at 100 percent proficiency, after staying at the 77.2 percent for mathematics and 71.6 percent for reading during the next two school years.

"That's a pretty high proficiency," Barger said. "When that year comes, I'm not sure how many students in North Carolina and across the nation will make AYP. Our goal is to continue to grow and work toward the goal of 100 percent."

Dr. David Stegall, associate superintendent for NCCS, said there are two measures to rate student productivity in school. One is through the AYP; however, the second is by looking at the expected growth of students.

Stegall said five NCCS schools met the expected growth for the year.

"We were able to help students grow over a year's worth of material," Stegall said. "We will still strive to meet the AYP goals set higher and higher. It makes it tougher, but we are continuing to work to get to that point."

The official AYP results will be approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education on Aug. 4.