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Middle school makes AYP

For Thomson Middle School, the summer months meant more than a vacation. Much more. In fact, those summer months were just what some middle school students needed to get them - and the school as a whole - over the hump.

After retests on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test at the end of summer school were figured into the school's Adequate Yearly Progress Results, Principal Claude Powell was happy to announce that his school made AYP.

In July, it was reported that the middle school did not make AYP in the subgroup of Students With Disabilities.

"The CRCT was administered a second time after they completed our summer school program, and by the efforts of our teachers and those kids getting a focused instruction, that basically is what put us over the hump," Mr. Powell said Friday in an interview.

McDuffie County Superintendent of Schools Mark Petersen first announced the middle school's accomplishment at last week's Board of Education meeting. He discussed the issue again on Monday during the regular meeting of the Thomson Kiwanis Club.

AYP is a series of performance goals set by the state for each school district and school for the realization of the No Child Left Behind Act. It is a measure of year-to-year student achievement on statewide assessments that requires schools to meet standards in test participation and academic performance of core subjects.

Georgia uses the CRCT as the AYP assessment tool for elementary and middle schools.

As previously reported in The McDuffie Mirror, State Superintendent Kathy Cox said this year's tests were based on a higher bar of standard across the board and increased rigor in mathematics. Test scores were low across the state due to some confusion in the implementation of the new Georgia Performance Standards curriculum. Because of this, summer school retests were included in the 2008 AYP results.

"Those who actually attended our summer school program scored 800 or better on the CRCT… and those results tabulated with what we already had, placed us on the AYP list," Mr. Powell said. "I am thrilled to death, because it was a long time coming."

The principal said the victory is even sweeter because this is the third year in a row that his school has made AYP.

"In 2005, we had problems with math," he said. "and we continued to have problems with our math, but we are definitely paddling in the right direction."

In spite of the good news, the system as a whole still did not make AYP because of the high school's failure in the subgroup of Economically Disadvantaged students. The Enhanced Georgia High School Graduation Tests are the AYP assessment tool for the high school level. Assistant Superintendent Barry O'Neill said the high school "was short" of making the grade by eight students last July. After summer school retests, they were still short by four.

This makes the third consecutive year that McDuffie County has missed AYP.

Web posted on Thursday, September 11, 2008

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