Saturday, Aug 02nd

Last updateFri, 01 Aug 2014 7am

You are here: Home News Local News Three county schools get failing grade

Three county schools get failing grade

Halifax County Public School division along with three county schools failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) program, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Joe Griles told school board members Monday night during their regular monthly meeting.

Griles explained South Boston Elementary, Halifax County Middle School and Halifax County High School did not make AYP.

Last year the division made AYP, but it did not this year due to other academic indicators (OAI), Griles said.

Halifax County High School and Halifax County Middle School have not made AYP for two years in a row, but South Boston Elementary School did make AYP last year.

Halifax County High School missed AYP this year in OAI and last year in math, and Halifax County Middle School missed AYP this year and last year in English and math, Griles explained.

The high school fell short of the 80 percent benchmark four-year graduation rate, he said explaining the OAI that kept the high school from making AYP.

South Boston Elementary School missed AYP this year in English, he added.

Schools that miss AYP are required to develop or revise a school improvement plan.

If a school is considered Title I, which in Halifax County only includes the county’s seven elementary schools, but does not make AYP three years in a row, parents are given the option to send their child to another school.

Sydnor Jennings, Scottsburg, Sinai, Meadville and Clays Mill Elementary Schools all made AYP this year, as well as the previous year, he said
Griles added, “I look at this as the glass half full.”

Stuart Comer, ED-7 representative, questioned Griles on why Halifax County Middle School has failed to make AYP in math and English for the past two years.
Griles told Comer that grades are always being looked at, and staff development is conducted.

He also said, “No one at the middle school is not trying to do a good job. The same is true at South Boston and the high school.”

Comer asked Griles to explain to him exactly what “No Child Left Behind” means.

Griles said, “In NCLB they have set benchmarks from 2002 to 2014. With a certain percentage of students being successful on the reading, English and math.”

Comer then asked, “Are we pushing students ahead that should not be going ahead at the elementary level, and by the time they get to the middle school level they are so behind that they cannot pass the SOLs?”

Griles responded, “I will not say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because I do not know what the retention rate is.”

Then Comer asked Griles, “What is the lowest grade that an instructor could give a student?”

Griles said,” Failure, 69 or below.”

“What is the lowest grade that we are giving children?” Comer asked.

“If I was a student and did not want to do the work and did not do the work, what would be grade?”

Griles told him it would be a zero, but that would be factored into a percent for the semester.

“You can hit a child with zeros left and right, but that doesn’t mean that they will change their ways,” added Griles.

Comer said he had been told the lowest grade a student could receive was a 60. Other board members agreed with Comer.

Griles said, “It has been encouraged that a student not receive a grade lower than a 60 in order to avoid cutting the student off at the knees and have them completely give up.”

He also said he does not believe this is being done throughout the division.

Comer added, “It seems to be false hope.”

Then he asked, “Does the student repeat the grade?” and Griles replied, “As far as I know they are.”

Comer again asked, “Are we pushing students ahead that should not go ahead?”

Griles answered, saying, “I don’t think so.

“Now you look at a child that has been retained once in kindergarten and once in third grade, you keep hitting them so many years they will be driving by the time they get to the middle school,” he added.

Comer responded, “I don’t care! If you keep pushing them up by the time they get to the middle school they can’t pass the SOL. What are you doing by pushing them ahead if they are not retaining the information. You cannot say I am doing this because I do not want to keep knocking the kid down. In essence you are giving them false hope, lying to them! Go on to the next grade, and maybe you will catch up. It’s not working.”

In response Griles said, “I think each year when students come in, teachers realize who has not mastered skills, and they do remediation.”

Comer told Griles he will continue to check on this and get back to him on this matter.