By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Despite numerous changes and improvements from the Clinton School District, the state report card shows many of its schools are still deemed in need of assistance by No Child Left Behind standards.
The district, and every school with the exception of Whittier Elementary, made an appearance on the in-need of assistance lists of the report, which was released by the Iowa Department of Education on Friday.
While Clinton School District Superintendent Deb Olson stated results from past years are difficult to compare against this year due to a change in the test, she was realistic about the district’s needs.
“The district has many indicators that clearly show that the Clinton schools are offering a top-quality education. However, we also recognize that continuous improvement is important to ensure that all Clinton students have the opportunity to reach their highest potential,” Olson said.
The Clinton School District remains on the District in Need of Assistance list for math for the third consecutive year, but has been removed from the list for reading after five consecutive years.
“This is a huge accomplishment where we have seen great gains in the past three years,” Olson said of being removed from the list for reading.
Clinton High School was removed from the District in Need of Assistance list for reading after being on it for three years.
At the same time, Lyons Middle School is on its third year of being on the in need of assistance list for both reading and math, as is Washington Middle School.
At the elementary level, Bluff Elementary School is on its third year of being on the list for reading, Eagle Heights is on the list for both math and reading for the second year in a row and Jefferson was removed from the in need of assistance list for reading after being on for three years.
Of all the schools in the district, Whittier did not appear on the list at all.
Schools and districts that do not meet targets for adequate yearly progress set by the No Child Left Behind Act in either the “all students” group or any one of the demographic subgroups within the required grade spans in reading or mathematics for two consecutive years are identified as “in need of assistance.”
Eight percent of Iowa school districts were deemed in need of assistance for the 2012-2013 school year, down slightly from the 8.4 percent identified the previous year, according to the IDOE.
Of the 1,381 public schools in Iowa, 496 or 35.9 percent were identified as schools in need of assistance for the same year.
This is an uptick from the 29.6 percent of schools that were identified as in need of assistance for the previous year.
NCLB standards require around 80 percent of students hit standardized test targets, but this expectation will increase to a lofty 100 percent by 2014.
Iowa received a one-year freeze from a standard increase of about 7 percent, which relieved Iowa Department of Education Jason Glass.
“Without this temporary relief, we would have seen an even higher number of schools and districts miss AYP,” Glass said.
According to Olson, building members at each school are continuing to identify areas for the district to improve in order to meet standards.
“There will be a consistent monitoring and tracking of academic, behavior, and teacher actions in each building and the district during the school year,” Olson said.
“There will be increased emphasis on teachers working together in Professional Learning Teams to determine which students are learning, which are not learning, and how to respond appropriately to both groups.”