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AYP report generates smiles for district

All 13 schools plus district meet targets

For the first time since No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002, Lake Oswego School District, as a whole, met the state of Oregon's preliminary Adequate Yearly Progress targets, under the federal ratings.

This means that all 13 schools, as well as other students living in the Lake Oswego School District - such as homeschoolers or alternative placement students - met preliminary AYP targets this year.

Though its 13 schools typically receive high ratings, the district itself has struggled to meet AYP on all levels due to one factor: Accountability. The district must account for participation in tests for students at Christie Care (formerly The Christie School), which treats troubled and abused children in Marylhurst, students at Portland Community College or other alternative programs.

AYP, which is determined using state assessment tests, measures the performance of all students, as well as subgroups of students - such as economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English language learners and racial and/or ethnic groups.

AYP is measured against targets for test participation, academic status, academic growth and attendance or graduation.

Last year's 'unmet' rating for the entire district was due to language arts and math requirements for high school students with disabilities. In the case of the language arts ratings, the district fell short of the required test participation, while math was an academic deficiency.

'Basically what happened last year, if you had one red box (unmet rating), the whole school or the whole district wouldn't meet AYP,' explained Donna Atherton, director of secondary education.

'This year we had more attention given to those subgroups and making sure those kids were tested,' she said. 'It is more difficult to make sure that every kid gets their testing simply because they are in a different location. Some of that responsibility falls to the alternative setting. The administrators and teachers (in those settings) really did a good job to take the responsibitly to get those kids tested. They're the ones who made it happen.'

In a statement released by the district, Superintendent Bill Korach added: 'Credit for the breadth of achievement acknowledged by these AYP ratings belongs to the district's exceptional staff and the motivated students who make learning a priority and to the parents and community members in Lake Oswego whose support is so instrumental to the success of the district's schools and its students.'

State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo released AYP on Monday and final results will come out in September. This marks the sixth year states have conducted AYP.

Riverdale School District also met all of the AYP requirements.

AYP results for LOSD schools are noteworthy in light of the raised expectations imposed by Oregon's NCLB plan, said district officials.

The plan increased academic targets by 10 percentage points this year.

In Oregon, all public schools must get 60 percent of all students up to standard in English/language arts (up from 50 percent last year) and 59 percent of all students up to standard in mathematics (up from 49 percent last year).

The academic target will be raised another 10 points again in 2010-11.

Schools must also meet an attendance or graduation requirement to meet overall AYP.

No Child Left Behind requires all students to meet state standards by 2014 and requires schools to meet growth targets each year in order to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress definition of the law.

Statewide, only 69.4 percent of elementary and middle schools and 35.8 percent of high schools met AYP. The Lake Oswego School District is the only major district (multiple high schools, more than 5,000 students) to meet AYP this year.

'We're happy with our results this year, but we're always looking to increase those percentages and do better the next year,' said Atherton.

The AYP report is meant to identify schools in need of improvement, especially those serving a high percentage of children in poverty and receiving federal funds under Title I. Schools receiving Title I funds that do not meet AYP targets for two consecutive years are required to make additional corrective actions.