While many schools and several state education agencies are grumbling about what they say are unfair and unrealistic standards in federal education laws, the Tomball school system has found a way for most of its campuses to meet them.
The standards, called adequate yearly progress (AYP), were created by the No Child Left Behind Act. All public schools are evaluated annually in reading and math and meet the requirements if 87 percent of the students on a given campus pass the state reading and English test and 83 percent pass the math test.
Creekside Forest, Canyon Pointe, Lakewood, Rosehill, Tomball and Willow Creek elementaries all met the standards, as did Northpointe Intermediate, Willow Wood Junior High, Tomball Junior High and Tomball Memorial High School.
The district as a whole also met the requirements, one of only eight schools in the 51-school Region 4 area to do so. Only 28 percent of all Texas schools met or exceeded the requirements.
“AYP standards substantially increased this year,” Tomball Superintendent John Neubauer said. “All of our employees worked together to meet the needs of our students and that includes meeting AYP. I am proud that are district met the federal standard, but we have more work to do.”
Decker Prairie Elementary, Canyon Pointe Elementary and Tomball High School Elementary did not make the requirements. This was the second year that Decker Prairie, a Title 1 school, did not meet AYP. Under federal law, if a Title 1 school does not meet AYP standards for two consecutive years in the same subject, it has to allow students the option to attend a different school within the district.
School officials said that although Decker Prairie did not meet the standards, they still believe that the school and the students are performing well. The school met the standards overall, but one subgroup did not. Under the law all subgroups must meet the standards as well.
“The campus missed AYP for reading in one subgroup,” Randy Reedy, Tomball’s director of accountability, said. “The subgroup must increase their scores by two percentage points this year in order to meet AYP. That’s a small number of students. However, the campus met AYP for all other subgroups in reading and math.”
The same goes for Tomball High School, as one subgroup did not meet the standards in math, causing the school to fall short. Three subgroups at Tomball Intermediate did not meet AYP.
Officials stated that they have already designed a plan to ensure the other schools meet AYP next year.
“We are analyzing the student data to target the individualized needs of our students,” said Darlene Blair, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “We are also providing intervention through curriculum, instructional strategies and professional development for teachers.”
By 2014 the federal AYP standards will increase to a 100 percent passing rate for both subjects.