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No Child Left Behind: Middle, high schools fall short

2010-09-03T00:15:00Z No Child Left Behind: Middle, high schools fall shortBy Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
September 03, 2010 12:15 am  • 

Butte's elementary and high school districts are among those in the state that failed to meet the improvement standards last year under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Butte schools did not make adequate yearly progress, or AYP, meaning students in both the elementary and high schools did not score high enough in reading or math. Under the law, districts must meet set standards for the number of kids testing

proficient in math, reading and science to be listed as making AYP.

Linda Reksten, Butte superintendent, said the test results showed the district needs to make some progress in key areas.

"Are we satisfied with where we are? No," she said. "We're going to continue to try to get our schools, students, teachers to be successful."

Statewide, two-thirds of the 418 school districts made AYP, according to data from the Montana Office of Public Instruction. That includes nearly three quarters, or 72 percent, of individual schools that met the mark.

In Butte, the majority of the individual schools did make the AYP standards on testing. But under the law a district can fail to make the standard even though all of its schools pass because the student subgroups, such as economically disadvantaged, can be too small in individual schools to be measured, said Jessica Rhoades, OPI spokeswoman.

Reksten said the results for Butte aren't entirely negative.

For example, the elementary schools passed for reading throughout the district. That was due to a significant improvement for American Indian and economically disadvantaged students, Reksten said.

The gains included West Elementary, which is on its way out of the status of needs improvement, and Kennedy Elementary, which had a score of 91 percent in reading. West and Whittier elementary schools are poised to get off the list of needing improvement, which takes two years of passing scores.

But Reksten said other areas need to show improvement. East Middle School's scores were flat, while Butte High saw a jump in math scores but a drop in its reading results.

Reksten said the big push in Butte is a program called "professional learning communities" that is being implemented throughout the district. It stresses getting teachers to monitor individual students for progress and also emphasizes that teachers talk to one another when a student is struggling.

The program has strong data showing that it works in schools throughout the country, she said. It has been started with the administrators and principals in Butte and is being filtered down to teachers.

"We just need to really monitor the students under our watch and you can really do that when you have a group of people, rather than individual teachers," Reksten said. "When you monitor the achievement of every single student, you cannot help but improve."

- Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at nick.gevock@mtstandard.com.

How districts fared

Following are area districts and schools that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Individual schools that failed AYP are listed following the district in parentheses.

Beaverhead County

Dillon Elementary

Beaverhead County High School

Anaconda-Deer Lodge County

Anaconda Elementary (Fred Moodry 6-8)

Anaconda High School

Granite County

Philipsburg K-12 Schools

Jefferson County

Jefferson High School

Powell County

Deer Lodge Elementary (O.D. Speer School)

Powell County High School

Butte-Silver Bow County

Butte Elementary (Emerson, Hillcrest, East Middle School)

Butte High School

 

Copyright 2014 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(19) Comments

  1. kid butte
    Report Abuse
    kid butte - September 08, 2010 12:57 pm
    homer said: ""delilajones", you say you're a "sub" teacher, and the kids aren't learning math? Can't grasp "Chicago-style" math? I was RAISED on "Chicago-style" math, and the ONLY problem "I" found with it was getting the TEACHERS to "keep up with ME!"(I have one of them math brains like that kid Matt Damon played in Good Will Hunting, and math courses were BORING in H.S,!)Yeah, the stuff MAY "jump around a bit", but you ARE right, it's the TEACHER, and NOT the student, that make the class, as it's the TEACHER that has to "get the message" across, and if he/she CAN'T do that, then they're in the wrong job, PERIOD! An "educator" NEEDS to be able to "connect" not ONLY with their "charges" but ALSO with "the subject", so as to be able to "carry that subject" to the minds of their charges in a way that will interest his/her charges to WANT to learn and absorb the subject. GOOD teachers are rare, but when they come along, they make all the difference in the world, NO MATTER WHAT the subject taught! Make THAT your goal, "delila", and YOU will see rewards like you never thought possible, as YOUR job will become so much more fun to go to every day, and at the OTHER end, you'll not only to be ably to look back on a long and satisfying career, but those that you successfully and happily "taught"will ALSO be knocking on your door with praise and thanks, like the STILL do with MY mentor, Gilbert Fink, even 15 years AFTER his death!"

    was your Chicago-style math class before or after your caplock and quotation class?

  2. homer
    Report Abuse
    homer - September 04, 2010 8:30 am
    "delilajones", you say you're a "sub" teacher, and the kids aren't learning math? Can't grasp "Chicago-style" math?
    I was RAISED on "Chicago-style" math, and the ONLY problem "I" found with it was getting the TEACHERS to "keep up with ME!"(I have one of them math brains like that kid Matt Damon played in Good Will Hunting, and math courses were BORING in H.S,!)Yeah, the stuff MAY "jump around a bit", but you ARE right, it's the TEACHER, and NOT the student, that make the class, as it's the TEACHER that has to "get the message" across, and if he/she CAN'T do that, then they're in the wrong job, PERIOD!
    An "educator" NEEDS to be able to "connect" not ONLY with their "charges" but ALSO with "the subject", so as to be able to "carry that subject" to the minds of their charges in a way that will interest his/her charges to WANT to learn and absorb the subject. GOOD teachers are rare, but when they come along, they make all the difference in the world, NO MATTER WHAT the subject taught! Make THAT your goal, "delila", and YOU will see rewards like you never thought possible, as YOUR job will become so much more fun to go to every day, and at the OTHER end, you'll not only to be ably to look back on a long and satisfying career, but those that you successfully and happily "taught"will ALSO be knocking on your door with praise and thanks, like the STILL do with MY mentor, Gilbert Fink, even 15 years AFTER his death!
  3. delilahjones
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    delilahjones - September 04, 2010 7:29 am
    To add injury to insult, they're using "Everyday Math" aka "Chicago math", which are a rather bogus method of teaching math, which really confuses kids. Don't believe me? Google "Everyday Math" or "Chicago Math" go past the University of Chicago site, which is trying to sell this program to schools, and start reading what parents,and college professors have to say."

    I'm a substitute teacher, and I agree that the math program in elementary school is ridiculous. they don't teach the kids any ONE concept, everything is all mixed up and they're dealing with several different types of math every day. How about teaching them one thing at a time, and then seeing that they learn it? It is just about impossible to try to explain a fractions problem, and then next explain a geometry problem. Then a graphs problem......however I don't claim to know anything about "how to improve the schools." I think it is a cultural problem, not a teaching problem. Some teachers are excellent, some not so good, that's the way it's always been and the way it will always be. This is not Lake Wobegon, where we are all above average. The children who want to learn and have involved parents will learn, and the kids who do not want to learn will not. This is not the fault of the educators.



  4. balou
    Report Abuse
    balou - September 03, 2010 7:34 pm
    As parents we must demand better but we have to put our money where our mouth is. If we don't take responsibility at home for the environment in which our children live then we can't blame the teacher. On the other hand I have sat through many parent teacher conferences and you certainly can tell the teacher who cares about their job and the teacher who would rather put on a video. This is a group effort people and I agree with lifelessonlearnedagain that because a child lives in a poorer demographic that he is necessarily doomed for failure. This starts at home with good, responsible parenting (that doesn't include the kid that has the most). We are repsonsible to stand up and say hey "I don't like this". Unfortunealtly I think most parents are tuned out of their kids' lives and they leave it all up to the teachers. Well if that's the case pay your money and take your chances. In my opinion Butte has many, many fine teachers but if you don't care why should they.
  5. montgirl
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    montgirl - September 03, 2010 7:11 pm
    Thanks Buttehill for setting the record straight about the scores at Hillcrest. Kids of Butte are great and Hillcrest students are no different. Scores of 96% and 93% are almost perfect. Hillcrest is meeting AYP except for one subgroup. Hillcrest teachers and other teachers in the district do their best to give all students the opportunity to learn. The positive aspects of 2009-2010 were not reported in the article. As for the professional learning communities teachers in Butte have been doing this for years. Maybe people do not care for Everday math, but the data doesn't lie. Give the kids of Butte some positive support and let them know you are proud of their improvement and scores in the 90's. I'm proud to have my kids in the public schools.
  6. lifelessonlearnedagain
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    lifelessonlearnedagain - September 03, 2010 4:58 pm

    The problem with all the Anaconda/Deer Lodge/Butte schools as well as others in our states is that old, hideously tempered and ineffective teachers are being kept on despite students and parents being unhappy with them and their crumby way of teaching. You couple that with our dismal enrichment programs, outdated curriculum and over crowded schools and it is a firestorm for failure.I live in Anaconda and have kids/family in all of the schools here and was once a FMS student myself and instead of firing these awful teachers they make them principles. Teachers need to be held to the same standard of acceptability as any other employee and as a tax payer I want my money back!


    It is easy to say it is poor kids and Native kids who are the problem and are dragging down the scores but I am here to say my poor AND Native child gets better test scores then any yuppy pale face. Just because a childs parents do not make a lot of money has nothing to do with their ability to learn just the attitudes of the teachers and administrators that deal with them. My family makes less because I choose to be here every day after school to work with my children over some selfish need for items like ipods and cell phones that we all must know are making us all a little more stupid anyway.

  7. Walkingbird
    Report Abuse
    Walkingbird - September 03, 2010 4:07 pm
    There are so many things to factor in here. First is the economical situation of a family, if they are poor their kids do not normally do well in school. It is hard to concentrat on getting good grades when you are hungry, a social outcast, having anxiety over the home situation, etc... There are kids dealing with domestic violence too. Instead of helping kids with the root of the problem they just label them as ADHD or ADD or what ever. These kids hold back a whole class. Is it their fault? No. There is more than what goes on once a child walks through the door of the school. The answer to these problems is just as complicated as the problem and the school is not equiped to deal with it. We need more social responsibilty from parents and usually the parents have more on their plate than they can deal with before they even think about kids grades. What we need is a program that will address the whole situation. When a student starts having a hard time it is time to speak with the parents, offer them social services to help the whole family.
  8. kid butte
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    kid butte - September 03, 2010 3:39 pm
    Isn't Hillcrest the country club school? I would think they would get really high marks.
  9. buttehill
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    buttehill - September 03, 2010 2:52 pm
    Butte1st,

    That is nonsense regarding missing other subjects for reading. I have two children at Hillcrest. Afterall, you do have to know how to read to read a science book or a social studies book. According to OPI's website, Hillcrest scored 96% proficient in reading and 93% proficient in math. That's a pretty high achieving school. Obviously, the kids are getting the math as well as the school appears to have made AYP in math. The OPI site shows a subgroup not making the reading, however in the next cell suggests the participation rate was too low for a countable sample. Seems odd to me. But, I guess if one group fails, the school fails. If one school fails, the district fails.
  10. butte-mom1
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    butte-mom1 - September 03, 2010 2:34 pm
    This issue really bothers me and I think that responsibility ultimately lies with the superintendent. What kind of direction is she providing? How can schools like Margaret Leary and Kennedy, with the most challenging socioeconomic demographics in Butte pass NCLB, apparently with flying colors, and other schools don't? Our five children have attended both Emerson and Hillcrest, and the principals and teachers always went above and beyond to help our kids in whatever way to succeed. Is the superintendent just not providing the tools that are needed? This is what we get for hiring a California "superintendet".
  11. butte-mom1
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    butte-mom1 - September 03, 2010 1:57 pm
    We need to support our teachers and thank those schools who passed the NCLB for doing a great job, as well as find solutions for the schools that didn't pass.
  12. butte-mom1
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    butte-mom1 - September 03, 2010 11:55 am
    Sports has nothing to do with the issue. Sports help to improve children both physically and mentally. We all need to take responsibility for our children and their progress. This starts at administration, to teachers, and mostly to us as parents.
  13. Butte1st
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    Butte1st - September 03, 2010 11:12 am
    I have never like the no child left behind because it does leave children behind. I can tell you from person experience at Hillcrest the principal is so into the Reading that kids are forced to miss other classes to spend extra time reading. There is no after school program just miss Science you can catch up later or math no big deal. When you are taking from one to improve the other it is not going to work. Also they are so into the speed of reading they forget the importance of comprehension.
    The teachers need to take responsibility also. Here is a good example if a teacher hands out a test to 50 students and only 5 pass it do you think it is the students fault or the teachers? This happens all the time. The principals need to set up a system to watch this and monitor what their teachers are doing. If they have a teacher you see this happening to they need to address the teacher. Odiously something is not working.
    Sports are not the issue at all. The students participating in sports in this town is a at an all time low. Less and less kids play any kind of sport. More kids would rather go home and sit on the computer or watch TV and text. Hillcrest fell short. I can tell you this is one school that does not push sports at all. Maybe that is part of the problem. Not enough kids are actively involved with other things.
  14. ShelleyW
    Report Abuse
    ShelleyW - September 03, 2010 10:56 am
    It should be understood that NCLB was designed by those who oppose public education and constructed for progressive failure for schools to meet ever higher expectations for every type of student. It is the social scientists and the right wing politicians who are to blame--not the parents, the kids nor their teachers who are forced to teach prescriptively to horrible tests. And remember the end goal of vouchers and charter schools is really to re-segregate public schools.
  15. mtntamer
    Report Abuse
    mtntamer - September 03, 2010 9:45 am
    the child left behind was just a big scam as i have had 6 kids in the deer lodge school system and they just pushed them out of school if they didn't perform their numbers
  16. qbr1114
    Report Abuse
    qbr1114 - September 03, 2010 9:42 am
    No child left behind was a horrible idea. Instead of trying to bring the less than average kids up, it holds the above average kids down. Teachers and schools are under pressure to have students pass these tests and really have no choice except to teach the test and not the subject.
  17. thinkingoutloud
    Report Abuse
    thinkingoutloud - September 03, 2010 9:10 am
    I know people who are trying to get teaching jobs in Butte, and are constantly turned down because they don't have enough experience. Obviously the people with the experience are not being effective in the classroom, so why not give some up-and-coming teachers a chance to see what they can do.
  18. newcpa
    Report Abuse
    newcpa - September 03, 2010 8:40 am
    From our experience in the school district (coming from the outside in) this school district does NOT care about the students. They rule EMS with complete and utter fear. There is not reason for this. Not all kids are bad. Also, this whole town pushes the WRONG THING! SPORTS...the whole town needs to get behind the kids and start pushing for EDUCATION!! Sports get you nowhere - education does.
  19. Mary
    Report Abuse
    Mary - September 03, 2010 7:57 am
    "professional learning communities"? Is that a fancy way of teachers need to talk to each other? They should have been doing that all along. You can't have good results without a good foundation. The elementary schools emphasize teaching to the test, and that leaves the kids short changed for middle school, high school AND college. To add injury to insult, they're using "Everyday Math" aka "Chicago math", which are a rather bogus method of teaching math, which really confuses kids. Don't believe me? Google "Everyday Math" or "Chicago Math" go past the University of Chicago site, which is trying to sell this program to schools, and start reading what parents,and college professors have to say.

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