Havre Daily News
The Havre elementary and high school districts - and every individual grade and school evaluated - satisfied the requirements of No Child Left Behind last school year, administrators learned Tuesday.
They were among the 93 percent of Montana schools that received passing grades.
"It's good news," Havre Superintendent Kirk Miller said today.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction said in a letter to administrators statewide that the state used a different evaluation process this year than last. This year's evaluation took into account two standardized tests as well as each school's overall planning process.
The new evaluation is more subjective, HPS assistant superintendent Dennis Parman said today.
Miller called the evaluation more fair, using several yardsticks rather than students' performance on one test.
Last year, performance on that test determined the success of each grade level, school and district. The Havre elementary district did not pass NCLB, even though both elementary grades evaluated did. The high school district did pass the NCLB standards.
Under last year's rules, every subgroup of the general population was required to meet the general performance standards. Subgroups with 40 or more students were evaluated separately by those standards. In Havre, when grades four and eight were combined so the elementary district could be scored, a students with disabilities subgroup formed, and that group did not meet the reading standards set for the test.
Districts across the state had a similar experience, OPI officials have said. The Havre elementary district was among a majority of Montana districts that did not satisfy the NCLB standards for the 2003-2004 school year, though most individual schools passed.
By satisfying the requirements this year, Havre begins with a clean slate, Parman said. According to the law, if the district had missed the mark two years in a row it would be required to notify parents.
This was the third time that schools were required to meet federal and state standards set by President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act.
Each time Montana schools have been evaluated based on different tests and different standards.
OPI applied this year to have all Montana schools considered under a more flexible evaluation process, saying Montana schools are more like small and rural schools nationwide, which are held to different standards.
"Receiving the results of Adequate Yearly Progress is good for our district. However, it doesn't change our work in helping to train our staff to utilize data to improve instruction," Miller said. "Improving instructional strategies then leads to improved student performance. That's the big goal."