For Immediate Release (04/08/10):
Haverhill Cooperative Middle School Students Meet State Proficiency Targets in Math and Reading
North Haverhill--For the first time since 2005, Haverhill Cooperative Middle School (HCMS) was counted among the schools whose students meet the state's proficiency standards in both reading and math. This represents important progress for the school. The school had not met met the state's proficiency target in math for each of the past four years.
On April 7, the New Hampshire State Department of Education (NHDOE) released its annual report identifying which schools' students meet the state's proficiency standards. This report is required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (NCLB), a law that requires states to test all students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 to see if they have met standards of proficiency in the areas of math and reading. NCLB defines meeting these proficiency standards as making adequate yearly progress (AYP), a determination that is based primarily on how well students do on the state tests given each October.
After two consecutive years of not making AYP, a school becomes designated a school in need of improvement. By April of 2009, HCMS was one of over 230 schools on New Hampshire's list of schools needing improvement. Another 34 schools were added to the list for 2010.
As a school in need of improvement, HCMS has been required to submit to the NHDOE an annual improvement plan that addresses how the school will ensure that all students reach the state's proficiency standards in math. HCMS has taken several steps to increase students' performance in the area of math, including the adoption of Everyday Math, the creation of a summer math camp open to all students, an increase in the length of math classes for all students in grades 4 and 5, and the requirement that students in grades 6 through 8 who need improvement take an extra math class each day.
The improvement plan at HCMS appears to be working. On the 2006 assessment, 48% of HCMS students were proficient in the area of math. On the 2009 assessment, 66% of students achieved proficiency. Reading proficiency rates have also increased over the same period, from 60% to 77%.
Getting off the list of schools needing improvement is a difficult process. A school must make AYP for two consecutive years. Complicating the process is the fact that AYP requirements become increasingly more stringent as time goes on. The current version of NCLB mandates that all students become proficient by the end of the 13-14 school year. New Hampshire therefore ratchets up the AYP targets every two years in an effort to move all schools closer to that goal of 100% proficiency.
This difficulty in shedding the school-in-need-of-improvement label is reflected in the following numbers: Of the over 230 schools in need of improvement going into the 2009 round of testing, only 41 made AYP in both reading and math this time around. Of those 41, only six had fulfilled the requirement of making AYP two years in a row and could consequently be removed from the list of schools needing improvement. With one year of making AYP in math behind them, the staff members at HCMS are committed to seeing that it is one of those schools that makes it off the list in 2011.
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