School principals excited about AYP

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2006

Dr. Kathy Murphy was so excited about Greenville High School's academic progress she had to cut loose with cartwheels.

&#8220It's amazing what you'll do when the adrenaline starts up,” said the GHS Principal, who reeled off several cartwheels on stage at the school's auditorium during a meeting this week with fellow administrators and Superintendent Mike Looney.

Murphy has reason to be elated. After six years of striving to meet the rigid academic requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Greenville High School made AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) in both reading and mathematics.

The Alabama Department of Education released annual report cards for state schools on Tuesday.

More importantly, the school met requirements in all student sub-groups, which includes white and black students and students who receive free/reduced lunches. The school met 16 out of 17 state-mandated goals.

&#8220In every area we had improvement,” said Murphy. &#8220There was not a single block where we did not demonstrate improvement. It's really exciting and we're real pleased with the academic progress.”

GHS scored a 3.58 proficiency index in reading and a 10.03 proficiency index in math among all students tested. A positive index indicates a specific group is exceeding its goals. For example, the 10.03 index in math means GHS has 10 percent more students scoring proficient than required.

Murphy said she has never seen a faculty as enthusiastic about an upcoming school year.

&#8220We're proud of what we've accomplished, but we're not going to sit back,” she said. &#8220I think this sends a message to our teachers that we really can do this. I think sometimes you start to doubt, but I think this has been a huge boost to the morale of this faculty.”

By making AYP, GHS moved into a delay status with School Improvement. The school has been in School Improvement for six years. Making AYP next year will move GHS out of the ‘penalty box', so to speak.

Superintendent Mike Looney said having schools in improvement effects how federal dollars are spent in the system. If an institution is in School Improvement status, the system must set aside funding for those students who wish to choose another school that is not in improvement. For example, a student's travel from Greenville to McKenzie School - which is not in School Improvement.

&#8220That's money that could be going elsewhere to help out in other areas,” said Looney.

Greenville Middle School scored 12.97 proficiency index in reading and a phenomenal 30.25 index in mathematics.

&#8220It's unbelievable,” said GMS Principal Jai Hill, who took over at the school last summer. &#8220It usually takes three to five years before a new administration is able to show improvement because of the new programs being implemented. Our teachers worked hard. They may not have liked every thing I said but they trusted what I said. The students took the tests, but it was the teachers who got them to work.”

Schools throughout the county showed improvement.

Greenville Elementary and W.O. Parmer each showed significant leaps forward, both scoring a 16.19 index in reading and a 19.76 index in mathematics, and making AYP.

Georgiana High School scored high as well with a 15.00 proficiency index in reading and an 18.84 index in math.

R.L. Austin Elementary in Georgiana and McKenzie School each maintained high academic marks. R.L. Austin students scored a 12.99 index in reading and a 19.26 index in math. McKenzie students scored a 19.15 in reading and 29.79 in math.