Marysville schools face consequences for not making AYP

MARYSVILLE ­— If local schools continue not to meet what the federal government considers adequate yearly academic progress, or simply “AYP,” the sanctions against individual buildings become more and more harsh.

Currently, the Marysville School District has two buildings in what the federal No Child Left Behind Act terms improvement status. The status means the individual schools have failed to reach AYP at least two years in a row.

The affected Marysville schools are Quil Ceda and Tulalip elementary schools.

Actually, only four Marysville schools or programs managed to achieve AYP for the 2007-2008 school year. But the sanctions only affect buildings receiving federal Title 1 dollars aimed at low income students.

Quil Ceda is entering its first year of improvement status, while Tulalip is entering its third. Predictably, the potential consequences for Tulalip are becoming more serious.

Any building identified by the federal government for school improvement must notify parents of the school’s status. Perhaps most importantly from the parent’s point of view, families must be given the chance to transfer students out of the school not meeting AYP into one that is, if such a school is available.

In Marysville, three elementary schools technically achieved AYP last year. At Pinewood and the 10th Street School, students managed high enough rates on state mandated tests to meet AYP requirements. Having just opened in time for the upcoming school year, the new Grove Street Elementary School has no academic history and therefore could accept transfers from schools not meeting AYP. According to district Assistant Superintendent Gail Miller, some students also transferred to Pinewood. But Miller told the district Board of Directors that Grove was made available for transfers first because of transportation issues.

Under No Child Left Behind, districts must pay to transport students whose parents move them out of buildings not meeting AYP. Tenth Street was apparently not a viable choice for many students because of its specialized music program. All in all, Miller said Quil Ceda lost some 40 students. Further, in order to meet the unexpected demand at Grove, two Quil Ceda teachers will be moved to the new building.

At Tulalip Elementary, 2007-08 was the fourth year the school did not met AYP. Besides making transfers to other school available, the district also must provide tutors for students, free-of-charge, if those tutors are requested by parents. Miller said that last year, only four families took advantage of the availability of tutors at Tulalip.

In addition to the above mentioned steps, Tulalip staff must choose between a number of further actions such as replacing certain staffers, implementing an entirely new curriculum or appointing an outside expert to help create a required school improvement plan.

Should Tulalip or any other school continue not to meet AYP, the consequences eventually can include replacing all or most of the school staff, contracting with an outside entity to run the school or agreeing to a state takeover of the school.

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