West Valley View, Avondale, Arizona, Friday, July 22, 2011
AIMS (From Page 3)
look at scores for different schools and analyze what went well and what didn’t, Superintendent Ron Richards said. “What we’re looking at right now is
the overall district and how we have utilized our reading initiative and improved test scores,” he said. Plans for next year include continuing to use the reading initiative and work- ing on new state standards for math, Richards said.
in every category, and also had the school with the biggest percentage drop in writ- ing. Tartesso Elementary went down by 36 percent for the writing test and also decreased in the other categories. One of the reasons is because the school went from 200 pupils in 2009 to 600 last year when Ruth Fisher Elementary was closed for remodeling, Assistant Superintendent Vivian Martinez said. “We’re looking at different circum- stances, because it became a whole other school,” she said. However, the district implemented a summer math academy, which is being held now and concentrates on skills pupils were struggling with, according to AIMS results, Martinez said.
Tonopah Valley High School made large increases in every category. It went up by 15 percent in math, 19 percent in read- ing, 8 percent in writing and 19 percent in science.
“Last year at Tonopah Valley High School, we started implementing some additional professional development and taking a look at curriculum,” Martinez said. “We will continue to do that this school year, and in fact we received an improvement grant from the state.” The district will be able to hire math and literacy intervention teachers, which will add more resources for struggling students, she said.
On the opposite end of the spectrum,
Saddle Mountain Unified The district was below the state average
Agua Fria Union High School Arlington Elementary Avondale Elementary Buckeye Elementary
Buckeye Union High School Liberty Elementary Litchfield Elementary Littleton Elementary Palo Verde Elementary Pendergast Elementary Saddle Mountain Unified Tolleson Elementary
Tolleson Union High School Union Elementary
Source: Arizona Department of Education
Tolleson Elementary The district’s four schools all scored
below the state averages in reading, writing and science, and only half were slightly above the average for math. However, all of the schools except Sheely Farms Elementary showed some growth.
Arizona Desert Elementary increased the number of its pupils passing math by 11 percent and also made progress in reading and science. Desert Oasis Elementary also went up 7 percent for reading. “With reading, we have seen some pretty nice increases and growth look- ing at all students starting in 2008 to now,” Superintendent Lupita Goodman said. “They’ve all had almost 20 per- centage points or more increases.” The district plans to continue its path for reading, because it’s seeing increases. Tolleson also implemented a science, technology, engineering and math director for next year and will
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have coaches at each school, she said. “We know we need to improve in math, so they will be working directly with teachers and helping them in the classroom,” Goodman said.
Tolleson Union High School The district had the only school in the
West Valley to have 100 percent of stu- dents pass the math and reading tests. University High School accomplished that feat and also had 99 percent pass the writing test and 82 percent pass science. “It’s a rigorous curriculum designed for those kids who are high achievers,” said Dennis Dowling, executive direc- tor of curriculum and instruction. “We challenge and push them a little harder to be successful, and I think ultimately the results speak for themselves.” The district’s overall averages were
still low because of its other three schools in the View’s coverage area, even though math, reading and science scores did go up slightly.
Districts in comparison Percentage of pupils passing
Math Reading Writing Science 56 58 55 53 57 59 72 51 68 59 46 56 45 51
78 77 72 71 76 77 85 68 76 74 66 72 67 66
69 41 46 42 64 55 66 40 64 48 46 41 57 40
44 54 54 53 50 62 78 46 66 51 47 48 39 39
the lowest number of recorded students pass the math and science tests, with only 37 percent and 30 percent, respec- tively.
“The freshmen who took the sci- ence test at La Joya passed at a rate of 71 percent, but unfortunately the state chooses only to publish the sophomore scores,” Dowling said. Students who take the tests a second or third time are achieving at a higher rate than the state averages, he said. “Our kids get there, it’s just we need to do a better job of preparing our sophomores to take that AIMS test,” he said. “Our success rate over four years is extremely high for kids passing the test.”
La Joya Community High School had
The district has identified gaps in the higher level concept skills for math and plans to pilot a yearlong algebra I and II class for freshmen at two schools, he said.
Union Elementary Both of the district’s schools scored
below the state averages in every cat- egory even though they made increases in math and reading. Hurley Ranch Elementary jumped by 12 percentage points in math and 14 percentage points in reading. “Even though they may still be below
somewhat in state averages, if you look at the amount of growth, it can be as much as 30 percent in some grade levels,” Superintendent Pat Gillespie said. “We’ve made enormous growth getting toward those benchmarks, and of course they’re going to go up again next year.”
The district’s biggest challenge seemed to be in middle school, she said. Pupils identified as needing more help will receive intervention classes on top of their regular classes, Gillespie said. “I was really excited by the improve-
ment overall, but there are those couple of areas that are just not quite there, so we are doubling their access to those curriculum areas,” she said.
Emily McCann can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or on Twitter @NewsbyEmily.
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