School District 51: Making The Grade

By: Summer Harrington Email
By: Summer Harrington Email
students in desks

Full classroom, August 19, 2009. Local school systems are working to minimize the threat of H1N1 flu. (WRDW-TV)

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - When the No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2002 the goal was to raise accountability standards for schools across the county by 2014.

Since then, school districts and the state have been required to turn in yearly test scores in the form of Adequate Yearly Progress Reports, or AYP reports. These reports are how federal law measures the achievement of schools, districts and states.

This year's AYP results should be in by the end of the week, but before they're released 11 News looked into School District 51 has been doing so far.

Since the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, District 51 has not passed.

School District 51 needs to meet standards in 142 areas in order to make AYP, but only made 114 targets. This means the District made 80 percent of the targets, but unlike your child's report card where that grade would be passing, AYP requires that a school make 100 percent of the targets to pass.

To be fair, School District 51 is a large district. As Sean Taylor with the District points out, “All the districts that have over 110 targets, which are most of your mid- to large-sized districts, in Colorado have not made AYP."

Across the board students in District 51 are missing the mark. Last year elementary schools only made 87 percent of their targets. Middle schools didn't make AYP either, hitting 83 percent of their targets. Area high schools only had success 64 percent of the time.

Overall, the District has had a steady decrease in these AYP scores over the last six years. The places where the District struggled were in special education, free or reduced lunch students and the English as a Second Language demographic.

Making things more difficult for the District is that every two years the standards increase. “It’s harder to make those targets as we head towards 2014 with the goal in mind that all students will be proficient," Taylor says.

Trying to make every target is important to District 51 officials. Taylor says, “We want all children to be successful and we really do want to look at each individual level so that is definitely our goal, not just by 2014, but always."

School District officials say they've made some changes, are seeing results and expect this years numbers to increase.

Even though the District has failed AYP for the last six years, School District 51 says parents shouldn't worry and should focus on their children. “As a parent you should really be looking at where your own student is growing and how they are performing and how that school is meeting the needs of that child,” Taylor says.

District 51 officials say they're expecting to see higher scores across the board when the Colorado Department of Education releases this year’s scores. Those scores are expected to be released Friday, Nov. 6.

For links related to this story, including how your child's school is performing, look below.

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