District elementary and middle schools have six years to reduce doubledigit gaps in math and reading scores, as the district considers changes which will guide future of classroom instruction.

A recent presentation from Kathy Elkins, the SAD 17 curriculum director, show district-wide test scores from students grades 3-8 have not met school improvement provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

As a result of the scores two schools – Oxford Memorial Elementary School and Paris Elementary school are on ‘monitor status’, the third lowest designation.

The accountability report compiled by the federal government draws upon New England Common Assessment Program scores, which test students in grades 3-8 in math and reading.

None of the districts schools are considered ‘priority’ or ‘focus’ – the lowest grades – which come with additional monitoring, selfreporting, and requirements to set aside 20 percent of federal money for underachieving schools.

SAD 17 received over $930,000 of Title I funding in for fiscal year 2014, according to Elkins.

The requirements apply only to schools with a high percentage of low-income and disadvantaged students who receive federal money. Known as Title I schools, Maine tiers how well schools on how well their students do, and how well schools progress.

School districts around Maine have until 2018 to cut the number of non-proficient math and reading students in half.

All but two elementary schools in SAD 17 are Title I; Harrison Elementary School, Paris Elementary and Middle schools, Oxford Memorial Elementary School, Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway, Waterford Elementary, Agnes Gray School in West Paris are all allocated funding.

The accountability report shows SAD 17 fared better in reading scores than it did in math. SAD 17 officials must reduce the total number of non-proficient reading students by 17 percent – from 66 to 83 percent – in that time.

Math scores need to rise 20 percent, from 60 to 80 percent proficiency.

Girls outperformed boys in both categories.

Within the district-wide goals, individual schools have their own goals, as do demographic subcategories of students, such as economically disadvantaged and students with learning disabilities.

Though Elkins acknowledged considerable progress will have to be made to achieve those goals, the leaps are less than the 100 percent compliance previously mandated.

Taken from testing done this past fall, the latest NECAP scores show figures generally down slightly from 2012. Fourth, seventh, and eighth grade math and reading scores declined; fifth and sixth grade reading scores increased, though their math scores decreased.

However, Elkins indicated the district will likely not see a change schools’ current designation – for better or worse.

In an interview Monday night, Elkins said that district was following ‘growth model’ to narrow the gap.

According to the Maine Department of Education, about 67 percent of Maine’s elementary students have achieved proficiency in math and reading, and without the waiver districts would be subject to financial sanctions.

Like other states, the waiver granted to Maine schools stipulates a certain percentage of schools receiving federal funding will be ranked. Some schools, Elkins said, have refused funding to forgo the accountability system.

In August, school districts were granted a waiver from federal requirements including 100 percent proficiency in math and reading scores – which were seen as unobtainable.

“Everybody new that was a challenge which would not be met by school districts,’ Elkins said.

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