Archive for August, 2010
Note: This is the story about AYP that will appear in Wednesday’s paper. Reporter Zoe Fraley wrote this story.
CORRECTED: two Bellingham elementary schools – Geneva and Roosevelt – were inadvertently left off the list of schools not making AYP. It has been corrected below.
Ferndale and Lynden school districts have joined Bellingham on the “in improvement” list after failing to meet federal and state standards.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction released the preliminary list of schools failing to meet standards during the 2009-10 school year on Tuesday morning, Aug. 31. In Whatcom County, 26 schools and all seven school districts didn’t meet standard.
According to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, schools and districts must make “Adequate Yearly Progress” and show they are working to make sure all students are at standard by 2014. AYP tracks a school and district’s progress in reaching that goal.
In Washington, AYP is determined by looking at a combination of High School Proficiency Exam and Measurements of Student Progress scores, graduation rates and attendance records. In all, schools and districts must meet standards in 37 categories.
If schools or districts fail to meet standard in the same category for two or more years in a row, they are considered “in improvement” and face possible sanctions. In Whatcom County, 32 schools and three school districts are on the “in improvement” list this year. Bellingham is in “step two,” while Ferndale and Lynden districts are in “step one.” For a district to be “in improvement,” the same category of students in the same subject in all three school levels must fail to make AYP two years in a row.
State test score results released Tuesday, Aug. 31 indicate there is still work to be done on getting students to meet state reading standards, despite previous years showing strong gains.
But some educators and parents wonder if comparing this year’s results on the High School Proficiency Exam and the Measurements of Student Progress to past Washington Assessment of Student Learning results is fair since there were many changes: new tests, new math standards, and some students taking the test on computers.
When Superintendent Randy Dorn took office in 2009, he promised to replace the WASL with a shorter test that could eventually be taken on computers.
In the spring, students got their first look at the Measurements of Student Progress, which is for grades 3 through 8, and the High School Proficiency Exam. The math, reading and science tests were shortened so that they would only take one day each.
But with tests only lasting one day each meant that students spent more hours in a single day testing than before.
“Cutting the number of days sounds good, but the amount of time kids sit down with pencil and test not necessarily much shorter,’ said Brian Rick, assessment and evaluation specialist for the Bellingham School District, adding that he’s heard from several people about elementary students getting “test fatigue,” especially on the reading test.
State Superintendent Randy Dorn said the length of the reading passages is something that will be looked at before the next round of testing this spring.
“I acknowledge that the reading test for all grades too long for one session,” Dorn said during a press conference Tuesday.
But Joe Willhoft, the state assistant superintendent of assessment and student information, said the testing data on the reading and science tests can be compared even though the tests were changed.
“We did shorten the test, but we drew test questions from the same bank of test items that we’ve been using for years to assess students,” he said during a press conference Tuesday. “Students were asked questions and had to respond to questions that were of the same type and field as before.”
Note: This is the story that will be running in Wednesday’s paper. There will be a more detailed story about Whatcom County data on Sunday, Sept. 5.
Fewer Whatcom County and state fifth grade students met standards on the state reading, math and science tests in the spring than did the previous year.
Results from the new High School Proficiency Exam and the Measurements of Student Progress tests were released Tuesday, Aug. 31, with mixed results.
Statewide, elementary-level students struggled with the reading test, and the number of fifth-grade students passing the tests dropped by 4.5 to 10.9 percentage points. But, the number of seventh and eighth grade students passing each subject increased by as many as 4 percentage points.
But because the tests are new, and the MSP tested students on new math standards, some educators and parents wonder if comparing the scores from 2009 to 2010 is an accurate look at how students are doing.
State Superintendent Randy Dorn said during a press conference that scores can be compared year to year, except for elementary-level math, where the standards became more rigorous.
Despite large decreases in some passing rates, and smaller increases in others, Dorn sees this year as positive.
“With resources taken away from schools, we’ve actually been able to hold our own,” he said, adding that many of those resources have been taken away from struggling students. “I really believe that we’re the very best possible under the circumstances. … I thinkwe’re doing more with less and we’re expecting more out of kids.”
Across the state, the single-largest gain was in tenth-grade science, with the number of students passing the test increasing by 5.9 percentage points. However, only 44.7 percent of students passed the test.
Scores are now available! I’m working on writing something up giving an overview. Results were really mixed across the state, with 5th grade struggling the most. Students in 7th and 8th grade made significant progress on all tests.
To view school and district-level results, click here.
Statewide High School Proficiency Exam and Measures of Student Progress results are being released today. The press conference is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
Northwest Indian College is now an accredited four-year baccalaureate school.
The tribally-chartered school was recently accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, ending several years of work to expand degree opportunities for students.
College officials have been working on getting baccalaureate accreditation since May 2007, when the commission named the school a candidate.
NWIC has been an accredited two-year school since 1988, granting associate degrees and certifications. The commission reaffirmed accreditation for associate degrees in 2009.
The school’s only four-year program, Bachelor of Science in Native Environmental Science, has also been accredited by the commission.
The college’s main campus is location at Lummi Nation, with other campus sites around Washington and Idaho to benefit the Swinomish, Muckleshoot, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Tulalip and Nez Perce Indian tribes.
To get everyone in the back-to-school mood, here are a variety of national statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.
$7.2 billion – the amount of money spent at “family clothing stores” in August 2009. Only December posts significantly higher sales.
76 million – the number of kids and adults enrolled in school (nursery school to college) across the country in October 2008. This is about 27 percent of the entire population of people 3 years-old and older.
56 million – the projected number of students that will be enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12 across the country this year.
11% – the projected percentage of students enrolled in private school this fall.
Nearly 80% – the percentage of students ages 12 to 17 who were academically on-track in 2006.
41% – the percentage of 6-to-17-year-olds who participated in sports in 2006.
10 billion – the total pounds of apples grown across the country in 2009. More than half came from Washington.
19.1 million – the projected number of students enrolled in colleges and universities this fall. This is up from 13.8 million 20 years ago.
16% – the percentage of all college students 35 and older in October 2008. They made up 36 percent of those attending school part time.
55% – the percentage of college students who were women in October 2008.
98,793 – the number of public schools in 2006-07.
28,2187 – the number of private schools in 2007-08.
4,352 – the number of institutions of higher education in 2007.
7.2 million – the number of teachers in the United States in 2008.
Starting this fall, adults in the Deming and Kendall areas will have easy access to Bellingham Technical College math and English courses.
The college is launching Reaching Out to East 542, a series of evening classes designed to help low-income adults who want to attend college but may need help preparing to do so.
The program is being funded by a two-year, $100,000 grant from College Spark Washington, an organization that gives money to programs that promote college readiness and retention.
“Something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time is taking classes out to the county where students might have trouble getting to the BTC campus or there are folks who might want to start into their careers more gently,” said Susan Parker, associate dean of instruction at BTC.
The program is geared towards a variety of students, including immigrants, people who haven’t gotten their high school diploma or GED or people who have unsuccessfully attended college in the past.
For the fall, three courses are being offered: essential reading, essential writing and basic math. Classes will change each quarter, with college-level math and English courses being added eventually.
“The classes will assist people in sharpening their skills for job searches and getting into careers,” Parker said, adding that college officials hope it also draws more students to campus to get a one-year certificate or college degree. “We hope students will start off with the basic education courses and move up into developmental and then college courses.”
Tuition is $25 for each class.
BTC officials have been working with the Nooksack Indian Tribe and the Mt. Baker School District to determine what classes people might want and when to offer them, Parker said.
All fall quarter classes are offered from 6 to 9 p.m., four nights each week. Classes will be held at either Kendall Elementary School and Mt. Baker High School.
Fall quarter begins Sept. 20. East 542 Applications are available here and can be returned by email to email@example.com or in person at the Mt. Baker School District office, 4956 Deming Road.
Summer is winding down, which means it’s time for students to head back to school.
Some private schools, including Baker View Christian and Cornerstone Christian schools, have already started their 2010-11 school year. Other Whatcom County schools start on the following dates.
Monday, Aug. 30: Lynden Christian Schools, including Evergreen Christian School in Bellingham.
Tuesday, Aug. 31: Assumption Catholic School.
Wednesday, Sept. 1: Blaine, Lynden, Mount Baker and Nooksack Valley school districts, St. Paul’s Academy, Ebenezer Christian School, Whatcom Day Academy.
Tuesday, Sept. 7: Bellingham and Meridian school districts, Bellingham Christian School, Pioneer Meadows Montessori School, Bridgeway Christian Academy, Wheels of Life School, Explorations Academy and Cedar Tree Montessori School (the first day for individual students will vary depending on age).
Wednesday, Sept. 8: Ferndale School District, Lummi Nation schools, Whatcom Hills Waldorf School.
Monday, Sept. 20: Bellingham Technical and Northwest Indian colleges.
Tuesday, Sept. 21: Whatcom Community College.
Wednesday, Sept. 22: Western Washington University.
The Nooksack Valley School District website has a new look!
There is still the same type of information as before, but there is one really cool feature (in my opinion): the entire site can be translated from English to a variety of other languages, including Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Arabic. The translation is done through Google, but I had never seen that option before.
The Ferndale High School Fall Sports’ Parent Meeting has been moved to Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, 5830 Golden Eagle Drive.
It was originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 2.