Partnership Zone School (Round 2) Profile: Laurel Middle School
On September 1st, 2011, Secretary Lowery and the Department of Education announced the 6 schools chosen to participate in round 2 of the statewide Partnership Zone Initiative (for more information about the Partnership Zone, see our previous blogs).
Last week a question was raised about the data used to determine the schools in the Partnership Zone, leading to a revision announced by Secretary Lowery on Oct. 10 moving Bayard out of the Partnership Zone and placing Laurel Middle on the list.
Laurel Middle is the only school in the Laurel school district serving grades 7th-8th (there is also an “intermediate” school in the same building that is 5th-6th grade). Last year there were 348 students, 62% of which were from low-income households, 28% African-American, 6% Hispanic/Latino, and 17% identified as Special Education. There have been no major demographic shifts or enrollment changes in the past few years. Laurel Middle made AYP in 2007 and again this year, falling short in 2008-2010.
Based on 2011 DCAS spring scores (50% of the determination for PZ schools), Laurel Middle students:
- Demonstrated lower proficiency in both ELA and math than the state average (gaps between 8% and 14%).
- Showed fall to spring growth slightly below the state in 7th grade and slightly above the state in 8th grade in both subjects (this is not part of the determination but interesting to note)
Based on DSTP historical trends (2008-2010, the other 50%), Laurel Middle students:
- Saw a slight decline in proficiency (2%) in 7th grade ELA, and a significant decline (15%) in 8th grade ELA, and declines in both grades in math proficiency (7th – 8%, 8th – 6%).
- Have performed worse on average than the state in both subjects and grades.
While it is unfortunate the error in calculation occurred, DDOE corrected the mistake as soon as they found it, and Laurel’s acting superintendent Dr. Dorothy Nave has welcomed the change, stating they are excited to be part of the reform work. It is not yet clear how much money and extra assistance will be available for Laurel Middle and how this may affect the other schools (if at all). As for Bayard, Secretary Lowery has encouraged them to continue to work to improve their academic performance.
Laurel’s next school board meeting is on October 19; a notice as to time and place has not yet been posted.
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