On October 14, the Texas Education Agency released Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) ratings based on 2007-2008 school year performance. AYP is a function of the federal school accountability system, No Child Left Behind. It measures progress of students in grades 3-8 and 10 in reading and math and rates both districts and schools as either “Met AYP” or “Missed AYP.”San Marcos CISD met AYP as a district. Bowie, Crockett, De Zavala, and Travis elementary schools, Miller Junior High, and San Marcos High School met AYP. Despite posting scores in the Recognized range in the state accountability system in both reading and math, Hernandez Intermediate and Goodnight Junior High missed AYP performance targets for special education subpopulations. Hernandez missed AYP in reading and math performance for its special education subpopulation. Goodnight Junior High missed AYP in math performance for its special education subpopulation.
2008 is the first year that all students, regardless of disability, have been tested on grade level. TAKS-A, TAKS-M, and TAKS-Alt tests are options for students receiving special education services. Scores for these tests are not included in the state accountability system in reading and math but are included in the calculations for the federal accountability system.
Dr. Patty Shafer, SMCISD Superintendent of Schools observed, “We continue to see gains in overall scores. Our mission is to ensure that all students have access to high quality learning environments and experiences.”
Among the instructional practices and programs implemented to provide students receiving special education services access to general grade level curriculum are co-teaching arrangements in which general education and special education teachers teach core subjects together. Training for co-teaching follows the Power of Two model: general education and special education teachers train together and receive ongoing coaching. Special education teachers train alongside general education teachers in all literacy and math training. Moving with Math is a supplemental resource that provides additional support for math instruction. Individual student needs are assessed in student review meetings, and skills and knowledge needed to bridge the students to grade level expectations are addressed in “gap plans,” individualized curriculums.
Acknowledging the challenge of instructing all students on grade level Kathy Hutto, SMCISD Director of Special Education, notes, “Students that have historically received off-grade-level instruction are now being held accountable for being on grade level with their peers. These students are demonstrating progress toward grade level goals.”
by: Joy Philpott
San Marcos CISD