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District AYP good, not yet perfect

Being better than the state average was not quite good enough, as Bremerton schools fared well when the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction released Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results for the 2004-2005 school year, but fell short in a few categories.

“We increased over last year,” said Linda Sullivan-Dudzic, special programs director for Bremerton School District (BSD). “But it’s not good enough.”

AYP is a measure of progress toward meeting standards set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Thirty-seven different categories are measured as students are examined as a whole, broken down into five different racial categories, and limited English speakers, special education and low-income.

Each category must meet standards for both proficiency and participation for reading and math. The final factor is whether schools meet the “other indicator” standard. For elementary and middle school students, that means a sufficient percentage students must be performing at an advanced level. For high schools, the other indicator is graduation rate.

If one of the 37 categories is not met, a school or district has not met AYP. For Bremerton, the district, Bremerton High School and Mountain View Middle School did not make AYP, each falling short in one category.

The schools continued progress from 2002-2003 in which the district alone fell short on seven indicators.

For 2004-2005, BSD did not meet the proficiency standard for 10th-grade low-income students in math, with the same group falling short at Bremerton High School. At Mountain View, black seventh-graders did not meet the proficiency standard.

The schools made gains from last year for special education students and reading. In 2003-2004, Mountain View seventh grade special education students missed the reading proficiency mark while BHS tenth-grade special education students failed to meet the proficiency goals for reading and math. Those groups of students were successful this year.

Sullivan-Dudzic said the secondary schools have implemented a math initiative to target the students who have not achieved the standard.

“Every school does a comprehensive school improvement,” she said. “Parents are involved, principals are involved ... teachers are involved. They look at ‘What are our strengths ... and weaknesses?’ and ‘How can we shift our resources to where our needs are?’”

After school programs and an accelerated learning program for students who did not pass the WASL have been added, Sullivan-Dudzic said.

“If you didn’t do well, we figure out what you’re missing,” she said. “The classes are accelerated pretty rapid but geared (very) specifically.”

Sullivan-Dudzic is pleased to see the improvements with special education and meeting all the standards for fourth-graders and reading. Even in math, the groups that did not meet AYP, she pointed out, still performed above the state average.

“Even though we didn’t make it in math, we’re still above where the state is at,” she said. “Not every single kid is achieving at BSD and teachers feel responsible. Our principals ... are very good communicators so we’ve had no (negative) calls from parents about the new math initiative.”

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