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Most Idaho schools hitting goals

TUESDAY, AUG. 3, 2010

State releases progress reports for 2009-2010

About two-thirds of the public schools in Idaho are hitting adequate yearly progress goals under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act, the state’s Education Department reported Monday.

The department released scores from the Idaho Standards Achievement Tests that show about 62 percent of state schools reached progress goals during the 2009-2010 school year. Last year, 66 percent of schools hit the benchmark, but the standards became more difficult to reach this year.

Only three of North Idaho’s 13 districts hit the goal this year – Kootenai, Avery and West Bonner – but Coeur d’Alene School District Superintendent Hazel Bauman said the state report doesn’t show the progress each district has made. Even if a district misses a goal by 1 or 2 percentage points, she said, “you still get a big ‘no’ as far as did you make the state goal. We have made huge gains since last year.”

As was the case with many districts, the Coeur d’Alene district did not hit proficiency goals for reading and math among students with disabilities. It also did not hit those goals for Native American students. The Post Falls School District and the Lakeland School District in Rathdrum also did not hit the mark due to students with disabilities not hitting the proficiency goals, the state report showed.

To achieve adequate yearly progress, a school must meet achievement goals set by the Idaho State Board of Education in 41 target areas during the school year, a news release from the state Department of Education said. Those target areas include the general student population, students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency. If goals are not met in one of the target areas, the entire school fails to achieve adequate yearly progress. The same applies to the district’s achievement, averaged across the entire student populations within those 41 target areas.

In addition, student achievement goals were increased in the 2009-2010 school year. To make adequate progress, 85.6 percent of students in a school had to reach grade-level proficiency in reading, compared with 78 percent last year. In math, 83 percent of students had to hit the goals, compared with only 70 percent last year, the state said.

The state highlighted several “success stories,” including Sandpoint’s Farmin Stidwell Elementary School in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, which hit the goal for the first time. With 630 students, the school has struggled to move all of its target groups to meet proficiency goals. The school hit its goal due in part to after-school tutoring by classroom teachers, ongoing assessments and more focused attention on specific student needs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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