State: 3 schools on 'target' roll call

Friday, August 19, 2011

Three of Marshall County's elementary schools are on a state "Target" list after failing to make adequate yearly progress during the last school year, according to the No Child Left Behind Act.

The schools are:

* Cornersville Elementary;

* Marshall Elementary; and,

* Westhills Elementary.

"Our focal point for this year is to help them improve," said assistant schools director Dr. Larry Miller as he handed a summary of the county schools' results to school board members at their August meeting.

Later, in a telephone interview, Miller explained, "At this point it's not a real major event. It could be an anomaly. Next year we could be fine."

"We made significant progress," Miller continued. "We just didn't make enough progress to meet the (higher) standards. The schools in question have a sub-group that failed to make AYP (adequate yearly progress) in one of the tested areas."

In the larger picture, Miller continued, both Gov. Bill Haslam and State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman are looking into the possibility of obtaining waivers from the federal government in relation to Tennessee making adequate yearly progress according to No Child Left Behind. Even the U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan agrees there should be changes to No Child Left Behind, according to Miller.

"We're in limbo until the decision about the waivers is made," Miller said.

Meanwhile, Miller and schools director Roy Dukes are looking at staffing in the target schools, trying to decide if all personnel are assigned where they can do the most good. According to Miller, Dukes is also looking at obtaining extra resources for the target schools, as well as developing a broad array of strategies for professional development of the teachers.