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Summer retests help Gainesville school system make adequate yearly progress
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Summer retest results boosted the Gainesville school system’s state test scores enough to meet Adequate Yearly Progress for the 2007-08 school year.

The state Department of Education announced Tuesday the final results for the school system. Prior to the inclusion of summer retests, the system as a whole did not meet AYP, a measurement of academic progress under federal No Child Left Behind laws.

Although Gainesville Middle was the only school of seven in the district that did not meet AYP as a school this past school year, the middle school’s test scores of about 110 economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities were poor enough to cause the entire system to not meet AYP, according to system educators.

The middle school has not met AYP for the last two years.

But with about eight weeks of additional instruction at the end of the 2007-2008 school year and during summer school, 85 students who failed the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in April were able to pass the state test in June, according to Merrianne Dyer, interim superintendent of Gainesville schools.

"We’ve got to just work on getting those 30 students to pass the math portion and the reading portion,"
Dyer said.

Only third, fifth and eighth graders are allowed to retake the CRCT during the summer because those students are required to pass the test before they can be promoted to the next grade level.

Dyer said with more instructional time, most of the students who did not pass the April CRCT were able to grasp the material and pass the summer CRCT retest. This is the first year the state Department of Education has allowed summer retest scores to be included in the second round of AYP determinations.

"It’s gratifying," Dyer said of the second determination. "However, we are thick in the work for this year. We’re looking to make AYP for next year."

Dyer said administrators within the system are working closely with teachers to develop professional learning techniques to help bring up student test scores.

Ken Martin, former principal of Gainesville High School’s freshman academy, started as principal of Gainesville Middle School this year. Dyer said she believes his new leadership will help the middle school to meet AYP for the 2008-2009 school year.

"Everybody in the system wants Gainesville Middle School to do well," Dyer said. "Right now they receive a lot of the (federal) funds and we hope to spread that out more evenly if they meet AYP. We’re working very hard."

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