Pam Castor, Manila superintendent, discussed the annual improvement/accreditation status of the district.
"Everyone is working hard to move in the direction we need to go," Castor said. "We will continue to do our best to meet the challenges in education. We have seen a lot of changes and more legislation in education over the last few years."
Castor explained the Manila school District establishes annual goals which are included in a plan called ACSIP (Arkansas Consolidated School Improvement Plan.)
This plan details steps that will be taken to improve both literacy and math achievement in each building. In addition the plan includes goals related to parent involvement, teacher training, and state and federal programs. Researched-based interventions and analysis of test scores are all part of ACSIP.
The federal No Child Left Behind legislation calls for all students to be proficient by 2015. Arkansas has set this benchmark for 2013.
"With all these goals in mind, Manila High School and Manila Elementary work toward consistent improvements in achievement levels," Castor said.
In addition each school and school district aims toward meeting the public school standards for accreditation established by state law and the Arkansas State Board of Education. These standards included rules related to all aspects of school operation including curriculum, community involvement, graduation requirements, course offerings, class size, school calendar, class schedules, extracurricular activities, attendance, grading, teacher professional development, student support services, and other services. The school is required to meet these regulations in order to be accredited by the Arkansas Department of Education.
Castor said current Manila School District is accredited. In addition Manila Elementary has accredited status. Manila High School is also accredited; however, some staff members are adding areas to their teaching license which under state regulations must be completed within three years.
Castor said the high school test score status meets levels established by the state annual expected performance levels. The elementary current test score status is SI1M which means last year scores met state expected performance levels. The state has revised alls
coring for the benchmark exam in grades 3-8. To completely remove the SI status, Manila Elementary must repeat expected performance levels again for the 2005 scores for all groups and subgroups. Should any group or subgroup fall below the expected level, Manila Elementary status will become SI-2. This will be determined when final decisions are made by the Arkansas Department of Education about Annual Yearly Performance Levels. This report should be forthcoming from the Arkansas Department of Education.
Castor explained the cutoffs in math and literacy scores must be met by not only the combined population but the subgroups. The subgroups include low social/economic, special education, minority groups by race, etc.
To meet all performance goals, including those related to the standards, all teachers are required to and currently are making progress toward additional licensure areas under an Arkansas Department of Education Additional Licensure Plan.
AIP's and IRI's are individualized instructional plans being written and implemented for all students scoring below proficient on benchmark exams, as well as, The Qualls in Kindergarten and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in grades one and two. In addition, all teacher professional development is being targeted toward increased student achievement.
Castor said the district should get an updated report in December.
"We are on target meeting the standards," Castor said. "We all want our students to have the best education available and our graduates to be prepared for their chosen fields."