District schools meet AYP goalsAll schools within the Mitchell School District have met the district’s adequate yearly progress under the federal government’s No Child Left Behind initiative, including Mitchell Middle School, which reached the goal for the second year after being on “alert” status.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
All schools within the Mitchell School District have met the district’s adequate yearly progress under the federal government’s No Child Left Behind initiative, including Mitchell Middle School, which reached the goal for the second year after being on “alert” status.
The news, delivered to the school board in the form of the Mitchell School District’s 2008-2009 report card, is encouraging, Superintendent Joe Graves said.
“All the signs were positive,” he said of the report card in general.
Meeting the AYP goal is significant because it means the middle school can officially be removed from the “school alert” status it earned two years earlier when a special education subgroup failed to meet the school’s established goals. Meeting AYP goals for all groups at the middle school level is also notable, since that age level is typically subjected to the greatest number of state-mandated tests.
MMS Principal Brad Berens credited his school’s teachers, paraeducators and students for the accomplishment.
“They did what they needed to do and it paid off,” he said.
Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, L.B. Williams Elementary and Mitchell High School also received recognition under No Child Left Behind standards. All were designated “distinguished schools” for their consistent positive performance.
The report card also shows that, demographically speaking, the Mitchell district has, with a few exceptions, steadily lost enrollment over the past decade.
The district had 2,433 students in 2008-09, down from 2,676 in 1999-2000 — a 10-year drop of 243 students.
The 2008-2009 enrollment numbers, by school building, were: Longfellow Elementary, 222 students; Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, 397; L.B. Williams Elementary, 444; Rockport Colony School, 31; Rosedale Colony School 25; Mitchell Middle School, 555; and Mitchell High School, 764.
Graves said the district received some unexpectedly positive enrollment news this fall. Instead of the anticipated enrollment drop for the 2009-2010 school year, the official student count taken at the end of September showed that student numbers rebounded this year to the 2007-08 enrollment figure of 2,465 students. That increase will be reflected on next fall’s district report card.
The reversal is due to an influx of new families to the Mitchell area in the past year, Graves said.
Other notes from the report card, which is annually compiled by school district staff:
• Reading scores, which have trended upward through 2008, fell noticeably — and in some cases substantially — in the course of four years.
That was due to a change in state reading standards and the assessment used to measure those standards, said Graves. State Department of Education reports show that other school district scores fell similarly across the board and attributed the dropoff to the change in standards.
“The change did not allow teachers to prepare students adequately for the test,” he said.
• The high percentage of high school graduates requiring remedial help during the first years in college has received strong media attention recently.
In 2003 and 2004, about 19 percent of Mitchell graduates required remedial help in English, compared with 15 percent among other state grads. That number fell to 9 percent for Mitchell graduates in 2007.
The numbers were worse on the math side, but they showed an equally dramatic improvement for Mitchell students.
In 2002, 20.5 percent of Mitchell grads required math help in college. Those numbers rose to 31.5 percent in 2003, and a high of 36.2 percent in 2004.
Things gradually improved, however, and those numbers fell to 12 percent in 2007 for Mitchell students, well below the 22 percent deficiency recorded by the graduates of other high schools statewide.
Graves said he is pleased with the progress and said it reflects that Mitchell has been working to provide more rigorous academic programs in the areas of English and math.
• Mitchell graduated 183 seniors in 2009 and in-state universities and technical schools claimed the largest number of MHS graduates. Those colleges with the greatest number of Mitchell students included Dakota Wesleyan, 12 students; Mitchell Technical Institute, 25; South Dakota State University, 19; University of South Dakota, 24; and Lake Area Technical University, 9.
About 20 students took jobs and six students joined a branch of the military.
The complete report card can be found on the Mitchell School District Web site at www.mitchell.k12.sd.us.