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AHS hopes to improve scores

Andalusia Superintendent Dr. Beverly McAnulty said she was “not surprised” to hear that Andalusia High School failed to make its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goal for the 2008-09 school year, and said the school will address it this year.

Each school in Ala-bama is expected to meet 100 percent of its AYP goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. These goals include proficiency in reading, math and either graduation or attendance rate. AHS failed to make its AYP because its graduation rate fell from 85 percent in the 2007-08 school year to 79 percent this year.

“We knew we had a number of kids who had dropped out and were going to count against our rate,” McAnulty said. “The state and national average are in the 60s, so we’re still ahead of that. But we’re obviously disappointed, because it’s important for every kid to succeed.”

McAnulty said AHS will take three steps to try and improve its graduation rate. First, administrators will follow a state procedure in which every potential dropout is first interviewed before the school allows the student to withdraw.

In addition, the school will use a “credit recovery” program, which allows students to take extra classes to make up for credit they failed to earn in the previous class period.

McAnulty said the school will also utilize programs to help kids who have difficulty with the high school graduation exam.

“We have a unique situation,” she said. “At most schools, you see the dropouts coming in the 10th grade, but at Andalusia last year we seemed to have a lot of dropouts in the 11th grade. I think a lot of those kids had taken the graduation exam several times without passing, and just became frustrated and said, ‘well, I’m never going to pass so I might as well just drop out.’

“We hope that between the credit recovery programs, the interviews and doing more to try and help kids pass the graduation exam, those are going to help us get our rate back where it needs to be.”

Andalusia Elementary School and Andalusia Middle School made their AYP goals, along with nine other schools in Covington County

“I am really, really proud that both the elementary and middle school made their goals,” McAnulty said.