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FMS listed on ‘No Child Left Behind’ watch list

Farragut Middle School appeared, for the first time, on the No Child Left Behind Targeted School List for the 2007-2008 school year.

According to NCLB benchmarks, a targeted school is one that has not made adequate yearly progress toward NCLB benchmarks in a single year.

If FMS does not make AYP this coming school year, it will be placed on the High Priority List and will have to make AYP for two years consecutively in order to be removed from the list.

Russ Oaks, Knox County Schools’ director of Public Affairs, said, “I think this may be the first year we have had one of the Farragut area schools up there. By looking [at the list] none of the four Farragut area schools are on the high priority list. None of them were there last year and probably not the year before.”

FMS made the targeted list because it failed to make AYP in the subgroup Students with Disabilities.

According to NCLB benchmarks, students with disabilities have to make the same proficiency percentages as students without disabilities, no matter their disability.

“In the end, by 2014 everybody has to be on the same level, meaning we have to have 100 percent efficiency for every student. There is no differentiation between any of the demographic groups,” Oaks said.

The state of Tennessee has added an option called Transition Option One Flexibility for schools or districts that did not make AYP based solely on students with disabilities.

“What they do is they take the percent proficient for that area and they add 13 percent to it. If you make the benchmark based on that you show as making it through T-O-1,” Oaks said.

“For Farragut Middle School, when they added 13 points to the math, it only got them to 81 percent proficient and they needed 86 to make that.

“Under the reading they were at 81 percent and they added 13 percent to that. It took them to 94 percent and they were only required to have 89 percent.

“So they made T-O-1 in reading but they did not make it in math,” he added.

By 2014 if all students in a particular school or district do not meet proficiency standards there will be penalties assessed to the school and the district in which it is located.

“There are challenges with the special education piece. And it gets to be a real challenge, particularly when you get into high school and start calculating graduation rate, because we have the No Child Left Behind Act, which says everybody has to perform at the highest level by 2014. Everybody has to be proficient.

“But then we’ve got the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which dates back probably 40 years, that allows you to establish an individual education plan for students with disabilities and to establish what success means for them as individuals. And those two pieces are sort of conflicting with each other.

“For example, I could be a special education student and meet the criteria for my Individual Education Plan and receive a special education diploma and I am not counted as a graduate because I didn’t meet all the same criteria as every other child in the school. So the two pieces are opposing one another and they will have to be harmonized at some point,” Oaks added.

Jim McIntyre, superintendent of Knox County Schools, said the results of this year’s list, for the system as a whole, are mixed.

As we look at our high schools, many are on the targeted list from the state solely for graduation rate,” he said.

“I expect to see improvement in this area in the coming years as we have restructured two high schools and have instituted freshman academies in several others. We have also implemented the first phase of a very promising literacy initiative across the county.

“The vast majority of students in Knox County are doing well and moving on to meet success in either the workforce or post secondary education.

“However, we want to make sure that every student achieves all that he or she has the desire to achieve.

“This is our challenge and commitment to the students of Knox County,” McIntyre added.


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