Not one Austin school hit the federal Annual Yearly Progress mark, but overall test scores have risen, according to the 2011 Illinois Report Cards the state released last week.
Austin is not the only neighborhood that missed AYP, however.
This year, 98.5 percent of high schools statewide along with six of every 10 elementary and middle schools fell short of the federal requirements for reading and math, the Chicago Tribune reported.
To make this year’s AYP, as part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, 85 percent of students at a school had to demonstrate on either the Illinois Standards Achievement Test — taken by third through eighth graders — or the Prairie State Achievement Examination — taken by 11th graders — to be reading and doing math at grade level.
More than half of the Austin-area’s 29 schools with available data had at least 50 percent of students meeting or exceeding grade-level requirements.
“The scores are not where we want them to be, but the schools are making improvements,” said Dwayne Truss, a member of the South Austin Community Coalition.
Overall, “the scores are going up,” Truss said.
Five Austin elementary schools — Brunson Math and Science Specialty, Emmet, Howe, May Elementary Community Academy and Spencer Elementary Math and Science Academy – received Illinois’ Academic Improvement Award.
The schools received the award for having an upward trend in test scores for at least three years. They also had a 7.5 point increase this year or a 15-point increase in test scores over the past two years, according to the Illinois Interactive Report Card’s web site.
May Principal Roger Lewis said the school is proud of its efforts to increase test scores. But, he added, there is “much further to go to make sure the needs of all students are met.”
Last year, May had about 51 percent of students meeting or exceeding state standards on the ISAT. This year, the percentage rose to 57.8 percent.
Lewis said teachers and administrators spent “quite a bit of time” talking with students, so they know where they stand academically and what they need to do to improve.
“It becomes a partnership,” Lewis said.
Despite rising test scores, Austin schools are not in the clear.
The high schools were among the lowest performers in the area.
The highest-performing high school was Prosser Career Academy, just outside the Austin neighborhood, with 34 percent of students reading and doing math at grade level.
Nine of the 29 schools received an “Academic Early Warning Status” from the state. The status means the schools did not make AYP for two consecutive years and are eligible for state sanctions.
More than 70 percent of Austin’s schools are on a more severe “Academic Watch Status”. This status means the schools failed to make AYP for two additional years after being placed on Academic Early Warning, or four annual calculations of missing AYP, and are eligible for additional state sanctions.
Truss said the state’s academic status system is a “paper tiger” that has “no teeth.”
“Chicago schools have their own rules,” Truss said.
Chicago is responsible for actions against the school, not the state, Truss said.
Donald Moore, executive director at Design for Change, an organization that studies urban educational reforms, said one key reason more improvement is not happening in Austin is that many schools in the area as well as other West Side and South Side neighborhoods are under probation by Chicago’s Board of Education.
“Their local school councils and principals don’t have the flexibility to improve the schools if a school is on probation,” Moore said.
Under probation, schools are not permitted to develop their own academic plans and budget, and may lose the right to choose their own principal, Moore said.
There are currently about 300 Chicago schools on probation, Moore said.
|School Name||School Type||Enrollment||% Low-Income||2010 meets or exceeds (%)||2011 meets or exceeds (%)|
|Armstrong, L Elementary Math & Science||Elementary||112||100||46||55|
|Austin Bus & Entrepreneurship High School||High||393||96||10||5|
|Austin Polytechnical Academy High School||High||362||83||7||9|
|Brunson Math & Science Specialty Elementary||Elementary||650||98||54||59|
|Catalyst Circle Rock Elementary School||Elementary||491||92||N/A||71|
|Clark Academy Prep Magnet High School||High||969||88||15||15|
|Clark G R Elementary School||Elementary||294||91.7||74||81|
|Douglass Academy High School||High||485||92||3||11|
|Emmet Elementary School||Elementary||492||99||70||74|
|Ford Power House Charter||High||373||94||N/A||10|
|Hay Elementary Community Academy||Elementary||573||97||59||65|
|Howe Elementary School||Elementary||587||98||67||72|
|Key Elementary School||Elementary||329||99||44||63|
|KIPP Ascend Elementary Charter School||Elementary||430||91||69||71|
|Leland Elementary School||Elementary||181||97||71||77|
|Lewis Elementary School||Elementary||647||99||47||54|
|Locke, J Elementary School||Elementary||1291||87||72||76|
|Lovett Elementary School||Elementary||475||93||66||72|
|May Elementary Community Academy||Elementary||508||98||51||58|
|Marine Military High School||High||380||92||28||35|
|Marshall Metropolitan High School||High||921||78||3||5|
|McNair Elementary School||Elementary||490||98||55||61|
|Nash Elementary School||Elementary||450||98||51||62|
|Orr Academy High School||High||1238||85||7||10|
|Prosser Career Academy High School||High||1405||88||28||34|
|Raby High School||High||560||95||14||10|
|Sayre Elementary Language Academy||Elementary||611||71||80||81|
|Spencer Elementary Math & Science Academy||Elementary||791||99||58||62|
|Young Elementary School||Elementary||1217||97||59||68|