The Tennessee Department of Education this morning released the 2007 Adequate Yearly Progress report for all public schools.
Director of Schools Harry Gill Jr. said he is pleased overall with the results for Rutherford County, although there are four schools that have been identified as needing improvement.
The report shows that 36 out of 40 Rutherford County schools tested are meeting progress requirements set by the state and the No Child Left Behind law. The results also show that two schools that were targeted by the state last year for special education — La Vergne High School and Cedar Grove Elementary — have earned their way back into good standings.
Target status is not part of No Child Left Behind. It is a term the state of Tennessee uses to notify schools when they are at risk of being listed as a high priority school if they fail to meet a certain goal for two consecutive years.
Oakland High School has been listed a high priority school by the state due to its graduation rate. Oakland also has been targeted for its special education reading performance.
Rockvale Elementary has been targeted for its special education math and reading scores, while Roy Waldron Elementary has been targeted for its special education math scores. La Vergne Primary was targeted because it is the feeder school for Roy Waldron. However, no students were tested at La Vergne Primary because the school does not have third grade, which is when standardized testing begins.
“This annual report helps us identify low areas within our school system so we can concentrate our efforts,” Gill said. “I’m very pleased to see that the faculties at La Vergne High and Cedar Grove have done what was needed to get their scores up."
He said the next step would be to focus on the other schools, meet with the principals, and give them the tools they need to strengthen their weak areas.
“Special education, in particular, will continue to be a challenge because these students are expected to meet the same standards as typical children even though they have identified learning disabilities,” Gill said. “But we have a good track record of improving identified schools, and we will continue to do everything possible to make all Rutherford County schools successful.”
The state used graduation figures from the 2005-2006 school year to determine whether Oakland had made the mark.
Rutherford County Schools and Principal Butch Vaughn, who took over Oakland beginning for the 2006-2007 school year, have taken several steps to boost the graduation rate at the school including the credit recovery program and the International Baccalaureate curriculum.
In addition, the school system has received approval to hire graduation coaches for the six large Rutherford County high schools this year. These coaches will track the progress of all students and intervene when one gets off track.
Special Education performance continues to be an obstacle for many schools in Tennessee because of the requirements under the No Child Left Behind law. The school system will be placing additional special education teachers and education assistants at Oakland, Roy Waldron and Rockvale.