Photo by Kate Patrick
Bethel Middle School of the Bryant School District has been moved from the Arkansas Department of Education’s “Needs Improvement Focus” list to “Achieving”, according to an AEA press release this week.
Bethel is among 137 public schools in the state that showed sufficient improvement on test scores to meet annual targets and are designated as Achieving schools under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act program.
Under ESEA, schools are designated as Exemplary, Achieving, Needs Improvement, Needs Improvement Focus and Needs Improvement Priority schools.
According to the Arkansas Department of Education, four schools moved from the Needs Improvement Priority list to the Achieving list, and 14, including Bethel, moved from the Needs Improvement Focus list to Achieving.
“These 18 schools have shown significant improvement over the last two years, thanks to the hard work and dedication of students, teachers and administrators,” Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell said. “The continuing implementation of Common Core State Standards will aid in these efforts.”
In addition to these 18 schools, four priority schools met the 2013 exit criteria for the first time this year. If they meet the exit criteria in 2014, they will move off the priority list. (See list below.) Eight focus schools met the 2013 exit criteria for the first time and will move off the focus list in 2014 if they meet the exit criteria for 2014.
In 2012, Arkansas received flexibility from some of the ESEA (No Child Left Behind) requirements. These waivers allow schools to continue to improve educational outcomes, close achievement gaps and strengthen the quality of instruction.
All schools are required to meet Annual Measurable Objectives, or yearly targets, designed to reduce the proficiency, growth and graduation gaps. Students are classified in two main categories: All Students and Targeted Achievement Gap Group, which includes students in one or more of the economically disadvantaged, English Learners and Students With Disabilities subgroups.
Test scores from 2011 were used to determine the proficiency, growth and graduation gap (based on 2010 data) to establish the targets for each school. Schools are expected to reduce by half the gap by the end of six years.
Schools that meet their AMOs for both groups in either performance or growth for two consecutive years are classified as Achieving. High schools also must meet the performance and graduation rate goals.
Schools that do not meet their annual targets are classified as Needs Improvement schools.
In 2012, the Needs Improvement Focus designation was given to 10 percent of schools that showed the largest three-year gap between Non-TAGG student scores and TAGG student scores.
Priority schools, which represent the lowest 5 percent of schools based on proficiency over three years in both literacy and math, were identified in 2012 as well.
The 2013 results show that 793 schools are identified in the Needs Improvement category. Many of these schools continue to show improvement; however, they did not meet their AMO for the year.
“The target increases each year, making it more challenging for schools to meet their AMOs,” Kimbrell said. “Educators are encouraged to continue to identify effective teaching and learning strategies to help all students reach proficiency.”
To view the complete 2013 accountability results, go to http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/communications/pressroom.
The four schools that moved from the Needs Improvement Priority list to the Achieving list:
- Boone Park Elementary in the North Little Rock School District
- Lafayette County High School in the Lafayette County School District
- Marvell-Elaine High School in the Marvell-Elaine School District
- Wilson Elementary School in the Little Rock School District
The 14 schools that moved from the Needs Improvement Focus list to Achieving:
- Bethel Middle School in the Bryant School District
- Brady Elementary School in the Little Rock School District
- East Junior High School in the West Memphis School District
- George Elementary in the Springdale School District
- Harry C. Morrison Elementary in the Fort Smith School District
- Helen Tyson Middle School in the Springdale School District
- Marvell-Elaine Elementary in the Marvell-Elaine School District
- Marvin Primary School in the Mulberry School District
- McRae Middle School in the Prescott School District
- Newport Junior High in the Newport School District
- North Heights Jr. High in the Texarkana School District
- Tilles Elementary School in the Fort Smith School District
- Washington Elementary School in the Fayetteville School District
- William O. Darby Jr. High in the Fort Smith School District
The four Priority schools that met 2013 exit criteria:
- Lakeside High School in the Lakeside School District
- Altheimer-Martin Elementary in the Dollarway School District
- Forrest City Jr. High in the Forrest City School District
- Strong High School in the Strong-Huttig School District
The eight Focus schools that met 2013 exit criteria:
- East Side Elementary in the Magnolia School District
- Union Elementary in the Texarkana School District
- Nevada High School in the Nevada School District
- Ozark High School in the Jasper School District
- Van Cove High School in the Cossatot River School District
- Seventh Street Elementary School in the North Little Rock School District
- Smackover Elementary School in the Smackover School District
Monitor Elementary in the Springdale School District