Sayre schools placed on warning status
The Sayre Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for the 2011-12 school year, but AYP results didn't bear entirely good news for the district.
Sayre High School and H. Austin Snyder Elementary School were each placed on warning status for the first time since AYP was enacted, officials said during a presentation at Monday's board of education meeting.
While principals said they were pleased with student growth over the course of the school year, the schools were warned because certain subgroups did not meet target thresholds. Segments of the student population consisting of 40 or more students are factored into whether or not a school achieves AYP.
At Snyder, students with individualized education programs and economically disadvantaged students failed to meet reading targets, said elementary principal Michelle Murrelle. The economically disadvantaged subgroup at Sayre High School did not meet reading or math targets, said high school principal Dayton Handrick.
Despite the schools' warning status, the district made AYP because its sixth- through eighth-graders met growth model requirements, Handrick said.
Both schools achieved a 99 percent participation rate, and at the elementary level, 70 percent of students were proficient in reading and 87 percent in math. At the high school level, 74 percent of students were proficient in reading and 66 percent in math, with a graduation cohort rate of 87 percent.
Proficiency levels for 2011-12 were 81 percent in reading and 78 percent in math. For the current school year, 91 percent of students are expected to be proficient in reading and 89 percent in math, Handrick said, and legislation calls for that threshold to be 100 percent by 2014.
Because of the district's small size, students coming into and leaving the district can significantly affect data, and test scores have greater impact. At both schools, several students were just a few points shy of proficiency.
Some students who transferred out of the district also have their scores attributed to Sayre, depending on when they switch districts and whether their records have been transferred, Murrelle said.
"It's not a perfect system," said board vice president Donald Skerpon. "We just need to make sure we're doing the right thing for our kids."
The schools must show growth for two consecutive years before they can get out of warning status, Handrick said.
District officials plan to continue aligning the district's curriculum to common core standards, continue trainings and support through the intermediate unit, use classroom diagnostic tools and hold bi-weekly grade level meetings to monitor student progress in order to improve further, Handrick said.
"Our teachers and our staff and our administration are working harder than they ever have to get results," said superintendent Dean Hosterman. "We're going to continue to work very hard."
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.