Last updated: January 23. 2014 4:23PM - 656 Views
By Lauren Williams Staff Writer



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The Sampson County Board of Education recently received an update concerning the county school system’s latest Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO), a set of three goals that the state Board of Education requires the system, as a Local Education Agency (LEA) receiving Title III sub-grants, must meet.


“We met all our AMAO targets for the third straight year,” shared Lisa Reynolds, director of federal programs, during the school board’s work session this week. According to information provided by Reynolds, Sampson County Schools, with this achievement, makes up part of the 67 percent of Title III entities in the state that showed progress in English Language Proficiency.


Reynolds explained that the first of the three AMAO goals focuses on the progress made with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students of which, for the county schools, Hispanic students make up the large majority.


Simply put, “Are we growing them?” said Reynolds, noting that for the goal to be met a LEP student must show progress by advancing to the next English language proficiency level or by raising their previous test score by half a point, for example.


With a minimum target score set at 57.1 by the state Board of Education, Sampson County Schools surpassed this first AMAO goal with a score of 60.5 percent, having 654 out of 1081 LEP students meet one or more of the requirements. Additionally, the local county schools’ score is higher than the passing scores of Bladen, Duplin, Harnett, Johnston, and Wake County Schools.


“We’re showing growth in English Language Proficiency,” noted Reynolds, pointing out that the system’s score has rose considerably since the 2010-2011 and the 2011-2012 school years when its only reached 58.5 percent and 58. 2 percent respectively.


The second AMAO objective is a proficiency goal, where a LEP student must achieve an overall composite score of 4.8 or better with a least a score of 4 on reading and writing sub-tests. Once students achieve this score, they are considered proficient and can leave the English-As-A-Second-Language (ESL) program.


“Are we actually exiting them out of the program? Are they proficient?” asked Reynolds in an effort to help school board members understand the primary purpose of this particular goal.


Again, Sampson County Schools met this second AMAO goal with a score of 16.17 percent, a score higher than the target score of 13.5 percent and one that shows improved proficiency over the past few years.


“We’re exiting approximately 200 students from our LEP sub-group each year,” noted Reynolds. According to her data, in the 2010-2011 school year, the system exited 198 students from the ESL program and achieved a score of 14 percent. In 2011-2012, 204 students exited out of the program and the system’s score rose to 15.1 percent.


Lastly, the system met the third AMAO goal which requires that the district meet all of its state Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) targets for the LEP sub-group in reading and math for both grades 3-8 and high school as well as achieve a 95 percent participation rate for the LEP sub-group in reading and math for both grades 3-8 and high school. When combined, these requirements come to eight sub-targets that the school system met in order to fulfill this one goal.


In meeting all three of its AMAO goals, Sampson County Schools joins the close to 50 schools statewide to do so for the 2012-2013 school year.


According to Reynolds, prior to the 2010-2011 school year, Sampson County Schools had not met its AMAO targets for three years but now “we’re giving them progress. We’re growing these students,” she said, adding that contributors to that success include employing more ESL teachers, some of whom see 100 students per week, and making a stronger effort to bring more Hispanic families into the schools and to get them more involved in their children’s education.


Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at lwilliams@civitasmedia.com.

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