Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 25, 2008

TC high schools fail to meet standards

By LINDSAY VanHULLE

TRAVERSE CITY -- For the second straight year, Traverse City's three high schools failed to meet state and federal academic standards.

Traverse City Area Public Schools, as a whole, made adequate yearly progress, or AYP, for the 2007-08 school year.

But West, Central and Traverse City high schools fell short of the federal benchmarks, according to data released Monday by the state Department of Education.

States are required to report AYP results under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The results are based on math and language arts test scores and participation rates on the MEAP test for elementary and middle school students and on the high school Michigan Merit Exam. Attendance and graduation rates also are factors.

To meet AYP goals, schools must achieve the criteria for all students and for subgroups of at least 30 students, including ethnicity, students with disabilities and those who are economically disadvantaged.

West didn't meet math proficiency targets for students with disabilities, Superintendent James Feil said.

Central failed to meet participation goals in either language arts or math for both students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students, among other factors.

And the alternative Traverse City High School missed AYP in part because of its 22.8 percent graduation rate.

"There still is an expectation and belief that all students can learn, and learn at high levels," Feil said. "As that bar is being raised, we have to find a way to help those students rise to the occasion."

Graduation and dropout rates for the class of 2007 also were reported Monday.

Of the 1,052 students who began high school in TCAPS in 2003, 84.3 percent of them graduated within four years, the state data show. Roughly 6.7 percent of them dropped out.

The state-developed formula is a change from past years, when there was less consistency among districts, said Doug Pratt, a spokesman for the Michigan Education Association.

The new calculation includes only those students who graduated in four years, as required by No Child Left Behind, but attempts to track individual students through high school and separately lists those who took more than four years.

"A lot can happen in four years," Pratt said. "This is helpful in identifying the problem."

The MEA will hold a hearing Sept. 4 in Traverse City to gather community input on ways to keep students in school.

About Adequate yearly progress

Adequate yearly progress, or AYP, results for the region's school districts can be found at www.michigan.gov/mde. Click on "Michigan School Report Cards." The database is searchable by school name, district name, city and county.