Y'all... I feel beaten down. You know you're in for a long day when it's gone to crap before it really even started. This has felt like the longest week of my life, and today is only Thursday. I was talking to the boy at dinner about something we did just last Friday, that honest to goodness feels like a month ago.
We had a staff meeting today before school started. It would seem that the goal of the meeting was to go over our State test results from last fall, and to discuss where we go from here. We already knew that our school failed to make AYP (adequate yearly progress) and the short and sweet version of why.. is because they changed the standards. They now want a greater percentage of the kids to pass, and they are including a larger number of the student body. It used to be just grades 3 and 6 that tested. Now it's 3 through 6. The other reason that we didn't make AYP is because of our large number of socioeconomically disadvantaged students. What that means in plain English, according to the reports, is that poor kids are dumb. Don't quote me on that. But because we are testing a larger group, the student body is broken down into subcategories (male is one, female is one, poor apparently is another.. there are 9 altogether), if one subcategory fails to make sufficient progress the whole school fails. Needless to say, our kids, that are in the "poor" group (based on free and reduced lunch data).. scored very low on the test and therefore.. no AYP.
So today we heard that not only did we not make AYP, if we don't make it again next year, we will be given a label of a "school needing improvement." If you don't make AYP 3 years in a row, the state comes in and you lose control of your school and it's a big ugly horrible mess. So there is all kinds of pressure to make AYP next year. Easier said than done.
Our boss man told us, that the big focus between now and October when we test again, is the kids who are nearing proficiency. The ones who almost passed this year.. but didn't quite. The ones that will "push us over the edge" so that we make AYP for next year. He talked about how there will be this big push to work with these kids and focus on the areas that are struggling in and that they identified them as needing help with. And those kids that are below proficient, the ones at the bottom of the spectrum.. the ones that I work so hard with day in and day out.. yah..we're not going to worry about them because they aren't going to pass.
It felt like a stab in my heart. You know how when in a moment you get so made you almost feel like you see red? If I could've gotten a word in edgewise .. I would've brought up the girl in 4th grade that we work with that has severe dyslexia, that last year, and even at the beginning of this year, couldn't write a simple page of anything and have it be legible, forget read anything long and substantial.. who scored very low on her MAP test in the fall.. just retested 2 weeks ago and her results went up 58 points in reading. 58 points. They only want to see a gain of 10 points over the year on the MAP test to determine that you have been progressing as you should be. She gained 58 points.
If you only knew how far her reading and writing has come this year and how proud we are of her... but they don't measure that. She's considered based on her Oct testing.. bellow proficient and we are supposed to just forget her. Just for the short term however.. just between now and October when apparently we will be "teaching to the test" as we like to call it..and leaving the "dumb kids" behind. Apparently my work is worthless, and I should be focusing my attention on the kids who just need that extra push to pass. We have 32 kids in our school who have been identified as learning disabled. They all struggle every day, and the progress that they make is so awesome to them, and to us... but because they will never pass that stupid state test... we should just let them slide backwards for the rest of this year and into the fall. Talk about kicking you when you are down.
Would you like fries with that???