Status quo for Colorado on AYP

The percentage of Colorado schools meeting federal Adequate Yearly Progress targets remained at 60 percent in 2009, the Colorado Department of Education reported Friday.

Although there was no change in that figure from 2008, CDE officials were heartened because eight schools were removed from the school improvement category after they showed substantial academic progress. Only three schools made that move in 2008.

Improvement status covers schools that receive federal Title I funds and don’t reach AYP targets for two consecutive years.

“All of these schools—those that have been removed from the list of Schools on Improvement and those that made AYP for the first year [17 schools] – have made substantial progress in increasing student achievement,” said Patrick Chapman, executive director of CDE’s Office of Federal Program Administration.

The department also determines AYP for districts. This year 46 percent of districts in Colorado made AYP, compared to 42 percent in 2008. Eighty-five districts are on program improvement status in 2009.

The AYP ratings are required by the federal No Child Left Behind law and measure state, district and school progress toward the goal of all students being proficient in reading and math by 2014.

The targets for reaching those goals are increased every three years, so the 2008 and 2009 targets were the same. Districts and schools can reach their AYP targets only if all students and all subgroups (by race, income, English language learners and special-needs students) meet the targets. Depending on student population, a school may be responsible for up to 54 different targets. Targets will ratchet up again in 2010-11.

Schools and districts that don’t AYP are identified for Title I Improvement.  Schools and districts on improvement are prioritized for additional grants.

The state is seeking to have the Colorado Growth Model the standards for AYP, rather than the current calculation based just on test scores. The NCLB law is up for reauthorization, which could change AYP in the future.

Consequences are attached to AYP only if a school receives Title I funds.  A Title I school that does not make AYP for two consecutive years in the same content area (reading or math) is placed on first-year school improvement.  For each year on that list, schools must meet requirements to bring resources to the school or provide parents with alternatives.

Here’s a summary of the schools on improvement:

  • 81 schools are in year 1 and are required to develop school improvement plans, offer public school choice to their students, and provide transportation to schools of choice.
  • 20 schools are in year 2 and must also provide supplemental tutoring.
  • 23 schools are on corrective action (missed AYP targets for four years) and must take additional corrective steps.
  • 13 schools that missed targets for five years must develop restructuring plans.
  • 45 schools that missed targets for six years or more must implement restructuring plans.

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What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

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School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.