Sumner celebrates No Child Left Behind victory

Published 7:47 am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sumner Elementary held a ceremony Tuesday honoring the teaching staff for the school’s success at achieving Adequate Yearly Progress in mathematics for the second year in a row.

Sumner has failed to make AYP for the entire school for the last four years.

Sumner principal Sheila Berger said that despite the school’s AYP results, the celebration was warranted because of the schools new success in math.

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“We are working really hard to take pride in the things that we are doing well,” Berger said. “The negative part is what tends to get passed around. But, the changes we made in math are paying off.”

A school fails to make AYP if it does not have a high enough percentage of students score as proficient or better on the MCA-II tests. AYP is a requirement of the federal No Child Left Behind act that requires a school make enough progress to meet the federal goal of 100 percent proficiency in all schools by 2014.

Berger attributed the school’s improvement to the restructuring of its class.

“We have really changed the focus of our instruction from large group lessons to a small group focus to meet our individual students’ needs,” Berger said.

She said Sumner was also working to improve its reading AYP results by working to better meet the needs of the school’s demographics. Sumner failed to make reading AYP in three student categories: Limited English Proficiency, Special Education and Free and Reduced Lunch. Limited English students constitute 33 percent of the school demographics and Free and Reduced students constitute 75 percent of the demographic. Berger pointed out that students in the demographics are required to take a test almost identical to the standard test.

“We’re trying to do the same thing in reading, which is more challenging than math,” Berger said. “If you were in the U.S. for a year, it’s expected that you have the exact same reading skills as regular students. It would be like being plopped in Japan and being told in 12 months to take the same language test as everyone else.”

Berger said that Sumner would continue to work on improving its reading results. She added the school was still making progress in all categories, just not fast enough to make state requirements. With the start of this year, Sumner will implement a new spelling program aimed at addressing some of the schools reading issues.

Berger gave a speech at the ceremony, along with school board chairman Richard Lees and Superintendent David Krenz, commending the teachers for their accomplishments. Several other school board members and school district staff were in attendance.

Berger emphasized the importance of honoring success no matter the situation.

“We have to celebrate the good or it’s a dismal world,” Berger said.