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Junior-senior high school identified as being “in need of improvement”

District evaluates instruction, works toward raising achievement for all students

The Watervliet Junior-Senior High School was among the 1,325 schools newly identified by the state Education Department today as a school in need of improvement. Although students overall did make sufficient improvement, the junior-senior high school was placed on the Schools in Need of Improvement (SINI) list because students with disabilities did not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) on state English language arts exams.

More schools than ever across the state landed on the SINI list this year because of several factors including a change in scoring procedures SED made in July 2010, which essentially raised the score needed to achieve proficiency on state English and math assessments, and changes in the length and format of the state tests. Read SED press release

How did the junior-senior high school get on the SINI list?

Every year students in grades 3-8 and in high schools across New York State take exams in English language arts and mathematics. Schools are then judged by the state according to how each subgroup of students performs on these exams. Subgroups range from the “all students” category, to economically disadvantaged students, special education students and a range of ethnic groups. If any particular group of students at a school does not meet state standards on the exams for two years in a row, that school will become identified as a school in need of improvement.

Watervliet Junior-Senior High School is currently in SINI status because not enough of our students with disabilities reached proficiency (Level 3 or 4) on the state English language arts (ELA) tests in 2010 and 2011. As a result, WJSHS did not make adequate yearly progress (AYP). For schools to make adequate yearly progress, every student must meet a designated achievement level on statewide assessments.

Wasn’t the junior-senior high school on this list before?

Yes, Watervliet Junior-Senior High School was placed on the SINI list in 2007. The district was able to improve test scores and the state removed the school from the list in 2009. Since that time the state has changed the test format making it longer and more comprehensive and the state increased the score needed for proficiency.

What’s the district doing to improve student achievement?

The district is working with Capital Region BOCES, which is providing “embedded coaching” to help district teachers analyze student data and teaching methods in order to raise student performance in all subgroups.

Curriculum mapping is also being used to review how and when information is being taught. Mapping provides teachers with a means to ensure all students are being taught and assessed in all subject areas and across all grade levels appropriately.

“We are committed to offering every child a quality education and helping all students achieve and succeed,” Superintendent Paul Padalino said. “We will continue to make every effort to provide effective instruction that will prepare our students for college or for 21st Century careers.”

What can parents do to help?

Parents are an integral part of ensuring the academic success of their children. To help parents become more involved in their child’s education, a new online tool allowing parents to view their child’s academic progress is now available. This spring, the Watervliet City School District launched a web-based communication tool allowing parents and guardians to view their children’s academic profiles via the Internet anytime, anywhere. The district is currently piloting eSchoolPortal for 7 and 8 grade students. It is expected grades 9-12 will be added this year.

To be removed from the list, the school will need to make two consecutive years of adequate yearly progress. During the first year of a SINI designation, schools must conduct a "self review" to determine a course of action. If scores are not increased this year, a more detailed improvement plan would be developed. Each succeeding year requires additional corrective actions.