School officials pleased with AYP scores

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Tucumcari’s top school administrators are pleased that all of its schools made AYP, but they say that doesn’t mean they are going to sit back this coming school year.

“We want to meet next year’s goals and beyond that,” said school Superintendent Aaron McKinney.

The passing AYP mark for the schools affirms that the school system is moving in the right direction, he said.

The AYP, or adequate yearly progress report, mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to reach certain goals in 37 different categories annually through year 2014.

Last year, Tucumcari’s Middle School did not meet its AYP goals and the district had a failing mark on its AYP progress report.
This year, the Middle School met its mark but it is still under a “CA” designation or “correction action delay.” If the school meets its AYP mark next year, the CA footnote will be erased, McKinney said.

McKinney attributed the district’s successful AYP rating with increased attention to student aid, such as tutoring, and a two-year emphasis on professional development of the school system’s teaching staff.

Over the past two years, the schools have been increasing students’ proficiency in math and reading, especially in the Middle School, but it has been dropping in the High School, according to the AYP report from 2005-2007.

For example, in the category of reading, the percentage of all students meeting proficiency in the Middle School in 2005 was 33.6 percent compared to 48.7 percent in 2007. The AYP goal for middle schoolers called for 42 percent in 2007.

Reading among all students in the high school slipped from 57.25 percent in 2005 to 49.60 percent in 2007.
The AYP goal for high school students in 2007 was 45 percent.

Changes are being made to improve students overall reading and math proficiency through continued tutoring and a more comprehensive curriculum, said assistant superintendent, Dennis Roch.

The schools have made significant changes, including a new principal at the high school and the elementary school, and the hiring of other new teaching staff, McKinney said.

One aspect that affects the school system’s AYP rating is its dropout rating. A new law may assist schools in keeping students in school, McKinney said.

As of July 1 this year, students who are 16 years old can no longer get permission to dropout of school and seek their high school diploma through a GED (General Education Diploma) program, McKinney said. Students must now be 18, and they are still required to have their parents’ permission to do so.

McKinney said he thought the change in the state requirements would help reduce the overall dropout rate.