Feds say some Brookline schools not making enough progress,despite high test scores
By Laura Paine/staff writerWicked Local BrooklinePosted Sep 24, 2010 @ 03:19 PMBrookline — Although Brookline school officials are upset by the labels given to many of the town’s schools by the federal No Child Left Behind act, they say they are ready to look into the MCAS scores to help the children who need it most.Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Fischer-Mueller presented the No Child Left Behind reportand MCAS results to the School Committee on Sept. 23. While all schools carry a “high” or“very high” performance rating, in addition to an improvement rating of “on target” or “nochange,” there are schools with subgroups that are not making Adequate Yearly Progresstowards reaching the NCLB requirement of 100 percent of students reaching MCASproficiency levels by 2014.“MCAS results are not a surprise to us,” Fischer-Mueller said. “We know our students verywell, so their plans describe actions of some progress that has not been made. With newinformation, a level of specificity can be brought to the school improvement plan.”The Devotion, Lincoln and Pierce schools are in Improvement Year 2, which means it is thethird year in which they have not met AYP in their subgroups, particularly special educationand low-income students. Devotion’s limited English proficiency subgroup, in addition tospecial education and low-income students, also failed to make AYP. Runkle is inImprovement Year 2 as well, with their special education subgroup not making AYP, and theHeath School is in Improvement Year 1 after the special education subgroup failed to meetAYP two years in a row.Letters have been sent home to parents of students in each of the schools as required by thefederal government, and Devotion and Lincoln parents, Title I schools that receive federalfunding to aid low-income students, are given the option of moving their children to a schoolwith a better NCLB status.Schools are given an NCLB status when subgroups, which only receive a rating if there are40 or more students, do not make AYP two years in a row. Each subsequent year AYP is notmet, the improvement rating increases a level.“We continue to perform at high levels and are commended by the governor for closingproficiency gaps and achieving high growth while, at the same time, our schools are beinglabeled under NCLB as ‘In Need of Improvement’ and ‘Corrective Action,’” Fischer-Muellersaid. “That is incongruous.”It was the Lawrence School’s NCLB status that truly angered Superintendent WilliamLupini. Lawrence is currently in corrective action after not making AYP four years in a rowin mathematics. While the school was able to make improvements in special education afterbeing in Improvement Year 2, this time, the low-income subgroup did not make AYP.“I get angry every time I see the Lawrence School result because they’re nonsensical,”Lupini said. “My frustration with this law is that we clearly moved that school out of corrective action, and now we moved there because of a different subgroup, and that doesn’tmake sense.”The School Committee unanimously agreed that they have a drive to help the students whoare struggling to make AYP, regardless of what the state tells them they should, and it willremain a top priority despite their dissatisfaction with NCLB.