JDHS passes AYP

9 local schools fail to meet all categories

No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress testing has left a mixed bag of results for Juneau School District — more schools failed to meet AYP this year, but it met AYP in more categories and Juneau-Douglas passed for the first time in four years.


Each year students are tested in language arts and mathematics and are broken into sub-groups for data,

The district had been on an upward trend in terms of more schools passing AYP until this year. For the 2009-2010 school year six of the district’s 14 schools passed, 2008-09 had five schools pass and 2007-08 passed four schools.

This year five met all AYP categories, two of them hadn’t passed AYP in three to four years.

Schools have to pass in 31 categories to stay off the fail-to-meet-AYP list. In order to be off the list, a school must pass two consecutive years.

“Even though JSD had fewer schools that met AYP, as a district, we met more of the targets this year than we have,” said Kristin Bartlett, JSD communications manager. “Every year we meet more of the cells that are on the charts. This year we met 95 percent, last year it was 94 percent. We have more elements that we’re meeting, which means we’re actually increasing the success of the sub populations within the school district. At the same time, the objectives are increasing.”

Testing sub-groups include students who are African American, Alaska Native and American Indian, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, two or more races, economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, LEP (Limited English Proficient) students.

Bartlett said the district is meeting AYP in 413 categories of 434.

That number doesn’t necessarily mean students are more or less proficient in some sub-categories based solely upon this data. Sub-populations with 25 or fewer students testing are recorded with an “N/A” since there are too few students to produce applicable data. The district is counting the “N/A’s” as successful, since that designation is considered meeting AYP on the testing standard.

Each year through 2014 the Annual Measurable Objective increases until it reaches 100 percent. That means each year more students need to be proficient in each group.

“Generally we’re very pleased and encouraged with the progress the district is making,” said Patty Newman, district assessment director. “Our graduation rate is up. The district uses a variety of assessments. We really feel like there’s a general upward trend and we’re making progress every year. I think what we put into place last year was our PLC’s during early release Monday’s consistent practice of looking at data, looking at what we’re doing in the classroom to help every student succeed. That’s definitely continuing. We continue to look at data. It’s something we look at on an ongoing basis.”

Bartlett said the MAP testing also is helping because it assesses students three times a year. She said they’ve also been comparing different testing data to national standards, instead of just the state test. Bartlett said Juneau students are making the most gains when compared to national norms.

She said comparing student data with national Terra Nova tests, Juneau students are making great strides in language arts and math.

Erik McCormick, director of assessment, accountability & information management for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, said they are excited Juneau-Douglas High School passed this year.

“Juneau-Douglas High School meeting AYP is a big deal,” he said. “If you were to compare J-D High with Anchorage comprehensive districts, there are not many that make it.”
Larger comprehensive high schools typically struggle to meet AYP across the state.

Last year, Juneau-Douglas did not meet AYP in six categories. This year, it either met all those categories with an element called Safe Harbor, or in the LEP population there weren’t enough students to generate data this year.

It gets even trickier when the Confidence Interval Formula is applied. Typically this will boost the applicable score by applying the Annual Measurable Objective (this year 83 percent proficiency in language arts, 75 percent in math) into a complex math formula.

The districts schools that met AYP this year were: Auke Bay Elementary, Glacier Valley Elementary, Johnson Youth Center (for the first time in three years), Juneau-Douglas High School (first time in four years) and Juneau Community Charter School.

Schools that did not meet AYP were: Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School (fifth year), Floyd Dryden Middle School (third year), Gastineau Elementary (passed last year), Riverbend Elementary (passed last year), Harborview Elementary (second year), HomeBRIDGE (fifth year), Mendenhall River Community School, Thunder Mountain High School (third year) and Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School (second year).

Penalties for schools consistently not meeting AYP depend largely upon whether the school receives Title 1 “A” funds. If it does and reaches tier 4 and tier 5 failure levels, consequences include entire staff replacement and the state taking over managing the school. Only two of Juneau’s schools that did not meet AYP this year receive some form of Title 1 funds, but it isn’t clear whether those schools receive those specific Title 1 funds.

Penalties are less stringent on those schools that don’t. At tier 2 and above, schools are required to develop and implement a school plan and notify parents.”

Of the schools that did not meet AYP this year, most made improvements over last year.

Dzantik’i Heeni this year failed to meet AYP in Alaska Native and Students with Disabilities categories in language arts. Last year it failed to meet AYP in both those categories, plus in Economically Disadvantaged in language arts, Students with Disabilities in math and LEP students in language arts. This year it met AYP requirements in those categories with Safe Harbor.

Floyd Dryden saw similar progress. This year it had three categories fail to meet AYP, and five made the Safe Harbor threshold for improvement. Last year, the school had six categories fail.

Gastineau Elementary missed AYP by one category — Economically Disadvantaged students being proficient in math.

Harborview Elementary failed in two categories this year and had three categories pass with Safe Harbor. Last year it failed to meet AYP in three categories.

HomeBRIDGE did not meet AYP in two categories this year — graduation rate (45 percent) and in student participation. Schools must have a 95 percent testing participation rate. If the student population is less than 40, all but two must take the test. HomeBRIDGE missed that mark by two students. It failed for that reason last year as well, missing the threshold by one student.

Mendenhall River did not meet AYP in one category — language arts with Students with Disabilities.

Riverbend struggled more this year, not meeting AYP in four categories, but meeting Safe Harbor thresholds in two. Last year it passed AYP with two Safe Harbor designations.

Thunder Mountain failed to meet AYP in three categories this year, passing two categories with Safe Harbor. Last year it did not meet AYP in two categories and had the same number of Safe Harbors.

Yaakoosge Daakahidi only did not meet AYP because of its graduation rate this year. Last year it failed for that reason, plus math and language arts.

The district has historically failed students in population groups of Alaska Natives, Economically Disadvantaged, Students with Disabilities and LEP students, and this year was no different for schools that did not meet AYP.

Statewide, schools meeting AYP standards also took a dip. Last year, of 505 schools, 302 passed — nearly 59.8 percent. This year, 231 schools met AYP standards — 45.7 percent.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.


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