Grades are in for Molokai Schools

Annual state progress report puts two Molokai schools at the front of the pack, and the rest in line for restructuring.

For those keiki in Molokai schools that didn’t make the grade, state restructuring, training and new strategies are on their way.

By Zalina Alvi

Two Molokai schools are among only 10 schools in Maui County to make the grade in annual state progress report.

Maunaloa Elementary is the only one on the island, and one of only four in the county, achieving what is called Adequate Yearly Progress, while Kilohana Elementary is in pending Good Standing (meaning they didn’t pass this year, but they have one more chance).

Meanwhile, Kualapu`u Elementary, Kaunakakai Elementary, Molokai Middle and Molokai High join 14 others in the county in line to receive state intervention, as a result of not meeting the proficiency levels for six years or more. A handful of other county schools are scattered on levels in between.

The progress reports are part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which tests students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 10 on reading and math. The idea is to assess whether schools are on their way to meeting a goal of 100 percent proficiency in the two areas by 2014.

This year, however, the scores needed to pass were raised from 44 percent to 58 percent in reading, and from 28 percent to 46 percent in math, which may account for the drop in the number of schools that are in good standing.

This year, only 113 Hawaii public schools, or 40 percent, met the proficiency targets, down from 184, or 65 percent, last year. In Maui County, the number went from 15 down to just four.

The proficiency levels are first applied to the school as a whole, and then to smaller groups that are categorized by ethnicity, poverty levels, English proficiency and special education needs. If even one of these groups are falling behind, the entire school will not be able to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress.

In 2008, 68 schools in the state, or 24 percent, did not pass because of one or two of these areas.

For those schools who achieved the lowest standing and get the label “Restructuring,” they will receive special training for school administrators and staff, as well as a private education consultant to help them develop strategies to increase student test scores and overall achievement.

Last week, Maui Complex Area Superintendent Bruce Anderson also traveled to New Orleans with about half a dozen school principals to receive similar training.

Department of Education Superintendent Pat Hamamoto, however, is remaining optimistic, and said she expected more schools in Hawaii would not make the grade because of the higher scored needed to pass.

“The true significance of the results is our students are applying and practicing what they are being taught in the classroom,” she told The Maui News. “Without a doubt, student achievement in Hawaii continues to improve.”


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