You failed, no wait, you passed!


Blog has been pretty slow recently so I didn’t get a chance to share the bad news from my staff retreat/in-service. The figures on state testing showed that my school site had missed AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) under NCLB (No Child Left Behind) , and we were going into Year 3 of PI (Program Improvement). Whew, that was a lot of acronyms! Apparently it looked like we had missed what’s called “safe harbor” (a 10 point increase in the percentage of Proficient or higher students) by 4 students in Language Arts. We made the goal in Mathematics.

Sorry I didn’t share that bad news earlier. It was not looking great, they were going to have folks from the district stopping by the school to “help” us. I was looking forward to this, because sightings of Associate Superintendents at my last two school sites have been few and far between, but we already have a site based improvement committee that has started recently. You always have to worry about a grass-roots movement getting stomped when the big elephants are fighting?

That was a week ago. Fast forward to Thursday morning, when I walk into the office. The new Associate Super had visited our school and happened upon our monthly parent meeting (70 parents in a school with ~400 students, this is really good for a low-SES school). She was very impressed, but also shared with our principal that when the district crunched the figures, we had made “safe harbor”, so we met our goals, and have one more year in PI status (you have to clear the goals two years in a row).

While I’m very happy about this, it kind of leaves me scratching my head. A week ago we were idiots, in need of assistance. We weren’t focused (which I read as, “why worry about counseling and affective domain issues, get those test scores up”), our site leadership was in question. Now, folks are calling our principal from the district and congratulating him. Now, we’re geniuses, and really nothing has changed, except the perception of reality of those test scores.

5 Comments to

“You failed, no wait, you passed!”

  1. September 10th, 2008 at 5:49 am      Reply Mathew Says:

    The API number is so mysterious anyway. I haven’t heard about the safe harbor but I’m always confused by how they factor in groups and subgroups which also have to make their goal in addition to the big school. As a new teacher I remember sitting in a meeting where we kept talking about going by XX number of API points. I asked the question, how many students is that or what percentage better do students need to do on the test to get that. The answer from the principal was she didn’t know. The district would figure it out.

  2. September 10th, 2008 at 6:38 am      Reply Doug Noon Says:

    I’ve long believed that reality is overrated, and this is another good example. It’s a shame that so many school admin types can’t see that.

  3. September 10th, 2008 at 7:43 am      Reply alicemercer Says:

    Mathew: It wasn’t the API (which is state) but the AYP (which is Fed). This means that we didn’t meet the 36% proficiency rate, but we increased the % Proficient and above by 10 percentage points, so we had ~27% at Proficient.

  4. September 11th, 2008 at 2:48 pm      Reply Michaele Sommerville Says:

    Reminds me of my mother telling me “figures don’t lie but liars sure can figure.”

    Today our superintendent told everyone in attendance at our “Freedom Day” walk (four schools’ worth of students, parents, and teachers) that the local newspaper was WRONG, our district DID make AYP last year. Yep, the journalistic mistake was more important than the reason we were all convened to respectfully attend “Patriot Day” activities.

  5. September 17th, 2008 at 6:11 am      Reply Mathew Says:


    My year’s going well. I’m split between two schools this year which is good and bad. They’re both close to home which I appreciate and it does keep me from getting bored for the most part.

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