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Sept. 30, 2007

School fails to make AYP for second straight year

by Priyanka Gokhale, Online Editor-in-Chief
For the second year in a row, Blair did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), making it the only school in Montgomery County to have a two-year failure and be marked as "Improvement Code 2." The state released the results which showed that the school failed by 12 students in the Limited English Proficient subgroup on Sept. 28.

Last year, when the school failed, MCPS created a committee of Blair staff, parents and county officials headed by the Blair, Einstein, Northwood, Kennedy clusters Performance Director Eric Davis to discuss the failure and ensure higher passing rates. According to PTSA President Dave Ottalini, the school will create another group this year. Ottalini also said that because the school is going into its second year of improvement, "we might end up with some additional resources out of the deal."

To meet AYP standards as mandated by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act, students of different subgroups including Free/Reduced Meals, Special Education and Limited English Proficient must pass state standardized examinations in reading and mathematics. If one subgroup fails in either area, the entire school is considered to have failed.

Last year, the Special Education subgroup failed in the reading section. This year, the Special Education subgroup passed but the Limited English Proficient subgroup did not meet the minimum proficiency rate in reading by less than 12 students, according to the 2007 Maryland Report Card.

Because Blair has failed for the second consecutive year, it has been designated "Improvement Code 2" which, according to the Federal Department of Education means that the district must "continue to provide technical assistance," "continue to make public school choice available" and "make supplemental educational services available."

Four other county high schools Einstein, Sherwood, Springbrook and Watkins Mill also failed to meet AYP standards, but have been marked "local attention."

In accordance with NCLB, the minimum rates required to pass each category go up each year, which Ottalini says makes it difficult for schools like Blair to meet AYP. "It's a moving target because every year the goal goes up," he said.

But Ottalini believes that the state's new plan to get rid of the writing portion on standardized tests will help students pass in the future. "Especially with [English as a Second Language] you've got kids with a wide range of abilities," he said. "Some kids don't know three words of English. How are they going to pass the writing?"

Please continue reading Silver Chips Online for further coverage of the AYP results.



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  • Michelle Lopez on October 1, 2007 at 9:53 AM
    It's because our school has backwards priorities. If they're worrying more about IDs and whether or not someone's belly button or boxers are showing, than whether or not someone can read, it's Blair's fault and they need to shape up. I won't deny some of the teachers are good, but all of Blair needs to get its priorities straight.
  • Michelle L. again on October 1, 2007 at 9:54 AM
    20,270
    sheets of Xerox paper are used at Blair on a daily basis


    WE CANT EVEN READ! WHY ARE WE USING THIS MUCH PAPER?! WE'RE KILLING TREES! TT_TT
  • Andrea on October 1, 2007 at 10:03 AM
    Say it Michelle! I back you up.
    I do think we need to focus a bit more on the kids with little to no English proficiency. I Do understand that ID's are essential due to Blair's large student population, but if we prioritize the wrong things then Blair will fail many times. So what if a kid wants to wear his pants down to his ankles let him. His choice, his actions, his consequences. Focus on the teaching and the improvement of the student body.
  • Lisa M. (View Email) on October 2, 2007 at 11:26 AM
    I agree with both of you. The priorities set at Blair are definitely the wrong way around. We come to school to learn. If we can't even meet AYP, there is no way we are learning. Dress code, 6 chairs to a table at lunch, IDs, whatever. If we can't learn, why bother with all this trivial stuff. Teaching and learning is what school's about.
  • austin on October 2, 2007 at 5:47 PM
    the problem is not that Blair is enforcing policies that we students deem to be unnecessary, such as the id policy or dress code, the bigger issue is the fact that the writing sections are gone. its as if people are too concerned with passing AYP that they dont care if any more if people learn. Why bother teaching the kids how to read and write when we can just get rid of the writing section?
  • Abby on October 3, 2007 at 1:06 PM
    I agree! The administration wastes much mental energy on relative trivialites, such as enforcing ID policy, dress code, 6 chair rule, or whatever. Wouldn't the personnel hired to maintain this kind of anal atmosphere be more worth their salary if they were helping tutor students who need English help rather than racially profiling them with constant ID card harassment? And although it is rather off topic, it is true that the amount of paper wasted by this outsourced copying business is positively absurd. In an age where global warming is threatening our population and budget concerns keep our bathrooms filthy, wasting money on CopyPlus just to give every student worthless documents like the mission state is a repulsive administrative faux pas.
  • ... on October 3, 2007 at 8:35 PM
    whats the 6 chair rule?
  • xD on October 3, 2007 at 11:42 PM
    The 6 chair rule is this new rule in the SAC during lunch where we can't have more than 6 chairs to a table and we're not allowed to share seats anymore either. Just like we're not allowed to keep our backpacks, notebooks, and jackets on the table either. Some of the custodians enforce it but some don't. That's why now some places are more crowded and some places in the SAC are really empty...because everyone just moved to where the rules aren't enforced.
  • Heh on October 4, 2007 at 2:23 PM
    Your mom failed to make AYP for second straight year
  • Come On on October 5, 2007 at 12:08 PM
    Blair has problems true, but shouldn't we look at the bigger problem? NCLB has some major flaws. It's a shame in a school as big as ours, success or failure can be deemed by 12 students. I think that's a little absurd. When we're giving kids who can barely speak English a test on English, that's a bit ridiculous too. What does it prove? They can't speak English. Not that Blair is a horrible school that needs federal funding removed.
    I think our size accounts for part of our failure though. That's the only major difference I see in us versus other down-county schools who passed....
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