Tucumcari schools review AYP ratings

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Tucumcari Municipal Schools principals and acting superintendent Aaron McKinney are reviewing the district’s Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) report from the New Mexico Public Education Department and awaiting more information.

More detailed scores regarding AYP subgroups, such as those defined by ethnicity, and AYP scores for districts will be released at a news conference Aug. 16, an NMPED spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Middle School Principal Roberta Segura said she’s looking forward to seeing the detailed scores, so that she and the Middle School staff can increase their efforts in needed areas.

The Middle School did not meet its 2006 AYP goals because of lower than projected scores in reading and math by students with disabilities and in reading by Hispanic students.

Oftentimes, students can be in one nonperforming subgroup as well as another and that can account for a drop both areas, educators said.

Meanwhile, Tucumcari high and elementary schools met their AYP projections, and, in some cases, exceeded them.
The annual AYP reports by states and school districts are mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Coming up with an AYP pass or fail grade involves a complicated formula that takes into account, among other things, scores on math and reading tests, graduation and attendance rates.

“We won’t know exactly what action to take until we get all our test scores,” Segura said. “We will get a letter out to parents, probably about the first week of school.”

There will also be a meeting with parents at the first open house at the school to explain the state’s designations and scoring methods, Segura said.

“We will have that meeting on Aug. 29. We will share our test data and do a comparison of our school with schools similar to ours. We will also share our goals and mission for the school,” said Segura, who has been the principal for four years.”

Because the Middle School was given a “does not meet AYP” and a “corrective action” designation, “a letter will come from Veronica Garcia, the state’s education secretary, giving us a final designation and outlining an improvement plan,” Segura said.

McKinney said that, with the help of a $53,000 annual grant for the past three years, the groundwork is laid: The middle school has been restructured, and there has been professional development for staff and administration.

“Overall, all three schools are doing well,” McKinney said. “If we didn’t have the subgroups, we would have met AYP. The department wanted to break them down and so we’re trying to get there.”
Each year, test goals are inched up to reach higher goals. “There will always be a gain, each year,” he said,
acknowledging that it would also get harder each year for schools to attain.

Elementary School Principal Teresa Salasar said, “We made great strides last year. We want to make the gains now and improve our processes.”

In fact, the elementary school is “on target and we have a little bit of cushion for meeting our goals,” she said.