Moffat County students meet goals

The Moffat County School District is meeting federal goals for student achievement in 105 of 106 areas.

Despite the high level of achievement, the district doesn't meet what's termed Adequate Yearly Progress, defined by the No Child Left Behind act.

School districts must meet performance standards in every category -- separated by gender, age, ethnicity and special needs -- to make AYP. Performance is evaluated using the results of the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests.

In Moffat County, 39.03 percent of the high school's economically disadvantaged students scored above unsatisfactory on the math portion of the CSAP test. Forty-seven percent is required to meet AYP.

High school Principal Jane Krogman said school officials would work to identify the individual students who are struggling and create clear and specific interventions. It's a process the school has been undergoing for the past three years for other populations and other students.

"We need to be careful not to target kids in special populations to the detriment of other students," Krogman said. "We don't want to sacrifice one group for another."

The high school met AYP among economically disadvantaged students last year.

AYP doesn't measure individual students' progress. It measures, for example, whether all third-grade students have a certain level of knowledge.

There are other categories in which Moffat County schools didn't meet AYP but showed enough improvement that they're in a "safe harbor." This means those scores didn't meet the goal, but they also didn't fail to meet AYP.

Craig Intermediate School made safe harbor in reading and met performance targets in every other category, meaning the school met AYP. CIS was required to file a school-improvement plan with the state last year and was given additional federal funding to help implement the plan because it didn't meet AYP in math two years in a row. The school must meet AYP for two years to get off the required improvement program.

Craig Middle School's special education scores didn't meet AYP in math and reading last year, but the school met AYP in all of its categories this year.

Meeting AYP was more difficult for schools this year. Every three years, the state increases performance targets to meet the goal of having 100 percent of students score partially proficient and above by 2014.

For example, 47 percent of high school students had to score partially proficient or better in math last year for the school to meet AYP. This year, 60.25 percent of students must meet those standards.

Third- and fourth-grade CSAP scores also were available this year, which means Moffat County has to meet standards in 106 categories as opposed to the 76 it had last year.

"Even though the number of performance targets went up, we had an improvement in our status," Superintendent Pete Bergmann said.

He compliments district staff for identifying target areas and improving performance.

But, he said, it wouldn't take a federal regulation to make the district evaluate performance and create plans to improve.

"Every school, every year, puts together a school-im--provement plan," he said. "This doesn't change what we do."

He thinks the target of 100 percent proficiency is unrealistic -- specifically among English Language Learners and those with severe learning disabilities. He expects the law to change to better reflect what is realistic.

The school district already has adopted a philosophy of "failure is not an option," but tailors that to fit a student's needs and abilities.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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