DCAS results were released earlier in the summer and members of the instruction department in the Caesar Rodney School District have been crunching numbers ever since. During a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Scott Lykens, Caesar Rodney’s director of instruction, gave school board members an update on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data.
Each year goals are set as to what percentage of students a school should have meeting proficiency standards in English/language arts and math on the DCAS test, this standard is called Adequate Yearly Progress.
A school can meet AYP in two ways: by meeting the targeted percentage of students earning proficiency level 3 or 4 or by having a targeted number of students move up from a lower proficiency level to a higher proficiency level.
Across the district, there were schools that exceeded expectations in spring 2013, but there are still areas in need of improvement, Lykens said.
The district saw gains in scores amongst students with disabilities. Caesar Rodney saw improvements in 14 out of 20 groups of students with disabilities, nine in ELA and five in math, Lykens said.
However, not all schools saw gains among those students, he said. Data provided by the instruction department shows that math scores were below target for students with disabilities at both Fifer and Postlethwait Middle School, as well as at W. B. Simpson Elementary. ELA scores were below target for those students at Posthelwait Middle School. Despite not meeting targets, these schools were still able to meet AYP because they had an adequate number of students progress.
In all other areas, district schools either met their targets or did not have enough students in a specific category for their scores to count toward AYP calculations, Lykens said.
All of the district schools met AYP, except for Caesar Rodney High School, Lykens said. The school met all of its targets and in some cases made double-digit gains, but Caesar Rodney High was not able to make AYP due to its graduation rate, which came in below the 82-percent targeted rate with a rate of 77.49 percent, Lykens said.
Under the established standards, anyone who does not graduate within four years counts as a non-graduate, including special needs students who are given until they’re 21 to graduate, students who receive certificates rather than diplomas and students who transfer out of the district and their new school does not request records, said Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District.
“It was actually the Governors Association that came up with the criteria,” Fitzgerald said. “It insists that students who enter with a particular cohort graduate within four years.”
Just a few weeks into the 2013-2014 school year, concerns are already developing over this year’s graduation rate.
Page 2 of 2 - Lykens said that 30 students who were enrolled in Caesar Rodney High School last year have not attended class as of yet this school year.
“When you start trying to track those students down they’re students that moved, that don’t have the same location, they’re not at the same house, you call the phone number and it’s been disconnected, the cell phone has been disconnected and if you can’t find them they become a drop out,” he said.
Elvina Knight, principal of Caesar Rodney High School, will soon travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with Delaware’s congressional members as one of her duties as Delaware’s Secondary Principal of the Year.
“A large school trying to meet the graduation rate under the current conditions is just not appropriate,” Fitzgerald said. “Mrs. Knight has an opportunity in the upcoming week to go to Washington and meet with Sen. Coons, Sen. Carper and Congressman Carney and she has agreed that is what she will discuss with them.”