Accelify Blog

Three Bowie Schools Prepare for ‘Improvement’ Status (MD)

July 29, 2010

Most of Bowie’s 10 public elementary schools, as they have in past years, met all reading and math targets set in the Maryland School Assessment tests released last week.

&#x0 A;However, three Bowie schools — Benjamin Tasker and Samuel Ogle middle schools and High Bridge Elementary — failed to meet all targets for the second consecutive year, which means they have been placed on the state’s "school improvement" list for the first time.

The three schools must take steps to boost student and teacher performance in the school year ahead to meet targets that will be even higher going forward under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The law requires that each year, a greater percentage of students in each school test proficient in both reading and math, with a goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014.

"We are proud of our students and the gains they have made on the MSA, but we know we still have a lot of work to do to start improving student achievement," said Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. n a statement.

Principals at Tasker and Ogle could not be reached for comment Monday or Tuesday about the results.

Charles Eller, principal of High Bridge Elementary, said in an e-mail that the school, where 2 of 5 students are special-needs students, would continue to focus on effective teaching and high student achievement to meet the needs of both groups.

"We know this comes about through engaging students in rigorous instruction and classroom activities," he said in the e-mail. "We expect all of our students to be involved in high-level thinking and reasoning."

On the 2010 MSA tests, Tasker, Ogle, High Bridge — and, for the first time, Northview Elementary — fell short of meeting all targets, failing to make "adequate yearly progress" under the No Child law.<br /&g t;

Tasker, Ogle and Northview failed to meet targets in math, and High Bridge fell short in reading this year.

The principal at Northview could not be reached for comment about results.

To be considered proficient, a fourth-grader should be able to divide numbers, according to standards posted on the Maryland State Department of Education website. An eighth-grader should be able to draw conclusions about literary characters from their words and actions.

Assessment results are classified into eight subgroups, five by race/ethnicity —African American, Hispanic, White, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaskan Native — and three additional ones — special education, free or reduced meals and limited English proficient. The purpose of the categories is to help administrators identify areas that need additional focus and resources.

Failure to meet AYP targets in the short term typically results in program changes. Failure in the long term can result in replacement of administrators and teachers.

Bowie middle schools

This year, all of the middle schools in Prince George’s County failed to meet all targets.

At Benjamin Tasker, the school percentage goal in math was 71.4 percent. Of the 1,106 students who took the test, 668 — or 60.4 percent — scored proficient (3 out of 5 students).

Within the total, the subgroups that fell short of their targets were, for the first time this year since tests began in 2003, African-American and Hispanic, and for the second year in a row, special education and meals.

In the reading test at Tasker, special education and free or reduced meals fell short this year. In 2009, it was special education and limited English.

Samuel Ogle Middle fared better, with only two subgroups failing to achieve AYP — free or reduced meals and limited English. Last year, special education fell short in both reading and math, but this year, special education met all targets, making it the only middle school in Prince George’s County to do so.

Bowie elementary schools

At High Bridge Elementary, results for 2010 showed significant improvement in math over 2009 but a significant decline in reading.

The school reading target this year was 81.2 percent. Of the 182 students who took the test, 125 — or 68.7 percent — scored proficient (about 7 of 10 students). Subgroups that fell short in reading were African American, special education and free or reduced meals. Last year only special education failed to make AYP.

Math scores at High Bridge, meanwhile, improved over last year. Last year it was African American, special education and free or reduced meals. The only subgroup to not make AYP this year was special education.

At Northview Elementary, subgroups met all of their AYP goals last year but failed this year for the first time to meet three targets in math and one in reading.

The school goal in math was 79.4 percent. Of the 382 students who took the test, 281 — or 73.6 percent — scored proficient (nearly 3 of 4 students). Subgroups that fell short in math were African American, special education and free or reduced meals.

In reading, all subgroups met the targets except special education.