Cedar Valley faces sanctions over WASL scores

  • By Sarah Koenig Enterprise reporter
  • Thursday, August 28, 2008 1:17pm

Cedar Valley Community School didn’t improve its WASL scores enough this year by a federal standard of “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP.

So this year Cedar Valley parents can send their child to another Edmonds School District school, with free transportation. Officials chose Hazelwood Elementary as the school students can go to.

A letter went to parents Friday, Aug. 22. There’s no number yet on how many families will leave.

“There is that concern, but I think many of our families see what we’re doing here,” said Charlotte Beyer, Cedar Valley principal. “I’m pretty confident we won’t have a lot of families leaving.”

Cedar Valley is in the first year of “Step 1” of school improvement, which is why it faces the sanction of letting students choose another school. Federal law sets forth a uniform bar for WASL scores and raised that bar in 2008. Cedar Valley, for the second year in a row, didn’t meet the bar in reading and math as a school.

In math, scores ranged from 24 percent of students passing in fourth grade to 58 percent of students passing in third grade.

In reading, scores range from 50 percent of students passing in fourth grade to 67 passing in sixth grade.

Eight other subgroups, including the scores of Hispanic, limited English and low-income students, didn’t meet the federal standard.

Cedar Valley has the highest percent of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch in the district – 75 percent. About half the students are learning English.

“Many of our parents are working very hard,” Beyer said. “They want to support their children as much as they can but sometimes they’re working two jobs.”

This year, the school will take steps to improve its scores. District officials and coaches will work with teachers on their teaching, and teachers will get more English Language Learner training. The school will also look at its assessments and look more closely at individual student data, Beyer said.

There is a misperception that the school doesn’t teach to standard, she said.

“We do have high expectations of our students,” she said. “We want to make changes so students will continue to progress.”

Students at the school have shown some progress and some regression in recent years.

For example, third-grade math scores jumped from about 40 percent of students passing in 2006 to 58 percent in 2008.

However, fourth-grade reading scores fell from 65 percent of students passing in 2006 to 48 percent in 2008.

Other scores have a mixed up and down pattern.

Recently, Terry Bergeson, state superintendent of public instruction, issued a statement about the challenges of meeting AYP.

“The law has gone too far,” she said. “The help it was supposed to deliver the disenfranchised students in this system has ended up hurting them more.”

Debbie Jakala, district spokesperson, said that the district is making progress but that it’s a challenge when the bar is set as a blanket for all schools.

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