Coventry schools meet state standards  
Friday, 22 August 2008

HANNAH CLARKIN
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COVENTRY — All Coventry schools met 2007-08 targets set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) according to the annual school-performance classifications released on Monday, August 19 by Governor Carcieri.

The classifications are based mainly on the NECAP tests which measure mathematics, reading, and writing, according to RIDE Spokesman Elliot Krieger, but they are also based on attendance and graduation rates.

The targets assessed students in subgroups, according to their background, ethnicity, and abilities. General population students from households of moderate incomes were grouped separately from economically disadvantaged students who received free and reduced lunch or students with disabilities.

At the elementary, middle, and high school levels, a Rhode Island District Report Card released by the Rhode Island Department of Education shows that the target was met by all grades and groups of students, except economically disadvantaged students at the elementary level and students with disabilities at the high school level.

Superintendent Kenneth DiPietro said that he would have liked to have seen higher mathematics scores at the high school level, and that it would be a goal in the future. The school reached the target by 63.2 percent, which is proficient, and above the state average, DiPietro said, but he would like to see it higher.

“We are very pleased that basically none of the schools changed their state ranking and state status,” DiPietro said, but he would like to see more focus spent on economically disadvantaged students at Oak Haven and in eleventh grade mathematics.

“Oakhaven is a title one school,” DiPietro said. “A third of the students at the school are allowed to have assistance with their school lunch program.” This year, the gap in elementary school targets occurred at Oakhaven.

Students at Oakhaven did extremely well overall, DiPeitro said, but “the subgroup of Title 1 students missed their target by half of one point.”

This result will direct teaching in the coming year, he said. “This doesn’t jeopardize the status of the school this year, but it tells us as a school department to spend more time and energy on that group.”

Eleventh graders took a brand new mathematics assessment test last year, DiPietro said, which contributed to lower scores. “Even though Coventry beat the state average, we want to beat the state target — we hope this year as second year of the test being administered that we not only beat the average but the target,” he said.

The scores did bring in some good news, DiPietro said. Overall, special needs students are meeting their targets, he said. Blackrock Elementary school has had one of the highest gains over the past four years in mathematics in grade four and in reading scores, he said, and Washington Oak Elementary had high reading scores this year as well.

“I’m very pleased, honored on behalf of the district that if you look at the middle school they are a high performing school,” DiPietro said. “If you look at the elementary school, almost every school, each one has been commended at one point over the past three years.”

Statewide, nearly 75 percent of public schools met all of their annual targets, according to a RIDE press release. However, the number is down from last year’s 80 percent. The Board of Regents emphasized that the scores show that the state needs to continue making progress.