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Schools missing AYP goal

Several area schools have been included in a list released by the Minnesota Department of Education Monday stating that the schools are not meeting Annual Yearly Progress.

AYP, as stated by the Department of Education, is a means of measuring, through standards and assessments, the achievement of No Child Left Behind and its goal.

NCLB aims to ensure that all children have a fair, equal and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments, according to the Department of Education.

Nearly half of all Minnesota schools are not meeting AYP. Poor-performing schools numbered 1,048 of 2,114 on which the state had data; an additional 189 received no rating because the state had insufficient information.

Area public school districts that were listed for not making AYP this year include Bemidji School District, Red Lake School District, Cass Lake-Bena School District, Laporte School District and Mahnomen School District.

For charter schools, both Schoolcraft Learning Community and Voyageurs Expeditionary did not make AYP.

AYP is determined for the entire school for math and reading scores. It also measure AYP for subgroups such as racial/ethnic groups, students with disabilities and English language learners, according to the Department of Education. Economically disadvantaged students are measured by participation in free and reduced-price meals.

Kathy Palm, director of curriculum and administrative services, said the Bemidji School District has improved from last year, when it did not make AYP in two subcategories for math: American Indian and black students.

"We're now making AYP in both of those," Palm said. "We're thrilled."

But, now, instead, the district is not meeting AYP for both American Indian and black students in reading.

"We actually have a data retreat Aug. 19-20, when teams of teachers will look at the very closely at the specific data," Palm said.

NCLB is widely considered prime for revisions, but Palm said school districts, specifically the Bemidji district, are not against being held accountable.

"This year, we will have to adopt a plan to increase our reading (scores)," Palm said.

But, since a school must make AYP for two consecutive years before getting a clear record, Palm said, "We still have to focus on math, too."

Tom Dooher, president of Education Minnesota, released a statement Tuesday in which he said NCLB "is not a true reflection of how students, schools or districts are doing."

"There is next to nothing about student growth, nothing about the effectiveness of instruction and nothing about the support our schools need. Minnesotans deserve a real accountability system that includes meaningful measurements, incentives for improvement and research-based solutions, and doesn't demonize individual schools and their students," he said.

Area school districts that made AYP this year after not making AYP last year include Kelliher, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and Bagley.

A school is said to be not making AYP even if it does not meet just one subgroup for either reading or math.

For instance, J.W. Smith in Bemidji made AYP in all reading subgroups and all math subgroups except the standard for American Indian math. So, the state considers the entire school as not meeting AYP.

Information on all schools can be found online at

The following list encompasses the area schools that are included on the not-making-AYP list for 2009.

Bemidji School District

- Bemidji Middle School

- Lumberjack High School

- J.W. Smith Elementary

- Lincoln Elementary

- First City School

- Bemidji Area Learning Center

Red Lake School District

- Red Lake Elementary

- Ponemah Elementary

- Red Lake Senior High School

- Red Lake Middle School

- Red Lake Middle Level ALC

Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District

- WHA Elementary

- WHA secondary

Cass Lake-Bena School District

- Cass Lake-Bena Elementary

- Cass Lake-Bena Middle School

- Cass Lake-Bena secondary

- Cass Lake-Bena Area Learning Center

Bagley School District

- Bagley Elementary

- Bagley secondary

Laporte School District

- Laporte secondary

Nevis School District

- Nevis secondary

Mahnomen School District

- Mahnomen Elementary

- Mahnomen secondary

- Mahnomen Area Learning Center

Grygla School District

- Grygla secondary

Schoolcraft Learning Community

- Schoolcraft Learning Community

Voyageurs Expeditionary

- Voyageurs Expeditionary