Only large district not in “improvement” status
With high average state test scores, Lake Washington School District (LWSD) met the standard for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 51 of 57 areas under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), according to information released by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. District students continue to score significantly above state averages on the state tests, the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) and High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE) as well as the new End of Course exams for math in secondary schools.
District not in improvement status - only one of ten largest in state
Because AYP requires that all subgroups meet or exceed all of the targets, the district did not meet AYP again this year. However, the district has not entered “improvement” status. That would be the case if the district did not make AYP for two consecutive years in all three grade-spans in any subgroup for the same subject area. Of the ten largest school districts in the state, Lake Washington is the only one that has not entered “improvement status.”
School Improvement Status
AYP status is an all or nothing measure. If just one subgroup does not make enough progress in one subject area, the entire school is labeled as not making AYP. This designation is confusing for parents and community members since many schools with very good test scores do not make AYP.
“It’s frustrating for schools that work very hard to educate every child to be slapped with this label when most children are succeeding,” noted Dr. Chip Kimball, superintendent. “Among those listed as not making AYP in our district and in many others are schools that regularly win academic achievement awards.”
Schools that do not meet AYP targets for any subgroup in a specific area two years in a row go into “improvement.” Only those schools that receive federal Title I funds, however, face specific consequences each year they are “in improvement.” Title I funds are targeted at schools with higher percentages of low-income students.
The standard elementary schools needed to meet in reading was raised this year from 76.1 percent to 88.1 percent of students at standard. Math targets remained the same for one year. Despite the higher reading standard, 24 out of 30 schools in Lake Washington School District met their AYP targets while six did not, the same number as last year.
Dickinson Elementary and Twain Elementary both made AYP this year after not making it last year. Dickinson remains in Step 1 of Improvement this year. Twain remains in Step 2 this year. It takes two consecutive years of making AYP to exit Improvement status.
Bell Elementary and Redmond Elementary both made AYP last year and did not this year. Bell did not meet the standard with special education students in reading and math. Redmond Elementary did not make the standard with both Hispanic and special education students in reading and math and with low-income students in reading.
Redmond Elementary, Einstein Elementary and Muir Elementary Schools are the three Lake Washington Schools that receive federal Title I funds and are in “improvement.” Parents of students at these three schools have the choice to send their student(s) to another school in the district that has met AYP.
“Each of these schools had significant successes last year,” noted Dr. Kimball. “Einstein’s fifth graders, for example, scored well above state standard in every subject tested. Redmond Elementary’s fourth grade reading and writing scores and fifth grade science scores soared. Muir’s fifth and sixth graders showed significant improvements in all subjects tested. These schools are serving students well despite the label.”
In addition, Community School is in Step 4 of Improvement because too few students took the MSP test. (See the attached list for AYP status for all Lake Washington schools.)
At the junior high level, the reading target rose from 65.1 percent at standard to 82.5 percent. For the first time, three of the junior high schools missed the reading standard for all students (Finn Hill, Kamiakin and Rose Hill). Reading among special education students was an issue at six of the seven schools that are in Improvement.
“These reading scores are a good reminder for us that we cannot forget reading as we work on improving scores in math and science,” noted Dr. Kimball. “Even though the bar is now much higher in reading for junior high students, I am confident that our students can make it.”
The reading target for high schools also rose from 74.3 percent at standard to 87.2 percent. All of the district’s comprehensive high schools made that standard for all students. Eastlake High School did make AYP this year after entering Improvement status last year. Special education reading and math was an issue for Juanita and Redmond High Schools while special education students did not make the standard in math alone at Lake Washington High School. The increased reading standard was also an issue for Hispanic and Low Income students at Juanita High. Both BEST High School and Futures School did not have adequate participation in the HSPE testing and did not make AYP as a result.
“Our high schools continue to do very well compared to other schools across the state,” noted Dr. Kimball. “Science is a particular strength here, as it is in our junior highs and elementary schools.”