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District 206 fails to meet federal standards: Nearly half of schools fall short of their goal

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news Alexandria, 56308
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released its 2009 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data, which is part of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

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Although the number of schools making AYP increased across the state - 1,066 this year compared to 984 schools last year - Alexandria School District 206 didn't fare well.

The district as a whole didn't make AYP and of the eight schools within the district, three made AYP - Garfield Elementary School, Miltona Elementary School and Voyager Elementary School.

Carlos Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Washington Elementary School, Discovery Middle School and Jefferson High School did not make AYP this year.

Last year, there was only one school within District 206 that did not make AYP, Discovery Middle School.

AYP, according to the state, is a means of measuring, through standards and assessments, the achievement of the NCLB goal of 100 percent proficiency by the year 2014. AYP is structured to ensure that all children have the opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.

AYP is determined for the entire school, as well as subgroups including racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, English language learners and economically disadvantaged students as measured by participation in free and reduced-price lunches, according to MDE.

Schools make AYP if the students in these subgroups meet the targets for the percent of students meeting or exceeding the standards on the state assessments in reading and math, as well as meeting the participation and the attendance or graduation requirements.

On Monday night, Julie Critz, director of teaching and learning for School District 206, presented AYP information to school board members at their regular meeting.

Critz told board members it wasn't surprising that the schools were on the list of not making AYP. The schools that didn't make it, she said, are the ones that have the highest number of free and reduced lunches. In addition, those schools have high numbers of "under privileged learners," she said.

She stressed that the school district is not looking to push the blame on anyone - not one certain school or one certain teacher or one group of students.

"We own this as a district problem," she said. "And we are taking it seriously."

Critz noted that compared to the "Target 10 school districts," which are regional center schools with comparable demographics, Alexandria is in about the same place as the others.

"We are pretty favorable, but there are a few [school districts] that are a lot worse off than we are," she told school board members.

Other schools

•Brandon School District. Made AYP: district overall, Brandon elementary, Brandon secondary.

•Evansville School District. Failed to make AYP: Evansville secondary. Made AYP: district overall, Evansville elementary.

•Minnewaska School District. Failed to make AYP: Minnewaska secondary, Minnewaska junior high, Minnewaska middle school. Made AYP: district overall, Minnewaska area elementary.

•Osakis School District. Made AYP: district overall, Osakis elementary, Osakis secondary.

•Parkers Prairie School District. Made AYP: Parkers elementary, Parkers secondary. Failed AYP: district overall.

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