Sampson County School officially met several objectives for improving language proficiency and plans to make improvements in other areas.
Lisa Reynolds, director of federal programs for Sampson County Schools, discussed the Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs). The North Carolina State Board of Education policy mandates that district’s receiving Title III sub-grants, which helps improve education.
The first AMAO is a progress goal dealing with language skills. Sampson County excelled their target of 59.1 percent with a 64.93 percentage mark.
To meet the goal, a student must make at least one achievement during the ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State) test administered in February. The achievements include increasing to the next English language proficiency level, improving upon the previous score and or reaching the second AMAO, which is marked as a “Proficiency Goal.” The district also succeeded in this category with 16.68 percent, which is a little higher than than the 14.6 mark.
If a English as a Second Language (ESL) student achieves a satisfactory score, they are allowed to exit out of the ESL program. For two years, Reynolds said they’ll be monitored.
For the last AMAO, it’s where End-of-Grade and End-of-Course will come into play. To meet this goal, the district must meet all Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) targets for the Limited English Proficient (LEP) sub-groups in reading and math for both grades third through eighth and high school.
Similar to the state’s AMAOs, AMOs are a series of federal performance targets which includes many subgroups. During a previous presentation, Sampson County decreased by a little more than 6.5 percent for meeting targets during the previous school year.
“We also have to check to make sure they’re also being allowed to participate in the testing program as required,” Reynolds said.
According to previous data, the district meet all of its AMAO goals from 2010 to 2013. However, they missed one AMAO dealing with a LEP group. The district did not have a 95 percent participation rate as required. Reynolds reported that the same occurred in 2014-2015 when goals for elementary and middle school reading and the high school math LEP subgroups were not met.As a result, Reynolds added that the district will have to fall under Title III Improvement status.
“There’s only seven (Local Education Agencies) in the state that met all three AMAOs this year,” Reynolds said. “I’m not really upset with this. But do we need to work some more? Yes we do.”
“We’re growing with our language development and we’re exiting a large amount of kids out of program,” Reynolds said in regards to making improvements.
But at the same time, Reynolds added that funding from the federal government is decreasing because of the improvements.
“We’re exiting so many out of the program and doing such as good job, that’s it’s hurting our funding,” she said. “We’re having to do the same amount or more with less funding.”
Also, Reynolds alluded to the challenge of ACCESS test being available online for the first time next year. She said testing coordinators , ESL teachers and principals have already been notified about the upcoming changes.
“When you’re looking at this, you have four different subtest that each child has to take,” Reynolds said. “All of them have to be individual. One is going to be and others is going to be no more than three to five.”
About 1,100 ESL students will have to be tested in one month and computer labs being occupied by the students, which may result in scheduling conflicts.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.