The good news for the Smyrna School District continues to roll in as all eight schools have made Adequate Yearly Progress.

This is the second year in a row where all schools in the district made Adequate Yearly Progress; since Clayton Intermediate School was only in its first year as a school last year, it wasn't included in the AYP totals for the 2011-2012 state accountability system.

Smyrna School District Curriculum Director Sandy Shalk said Adequate Yearly Progress comes from No Child Left Behind, which is still in effect, and requires targets to be achieved in reading and math. The goal of AYP is to reduce the number of students not meeting the targets by 2017.

"It feels very good. It's a testament to how hard the teachers and administrators worked to make sure students achieved their goal," Shalk said. "We're in debt to the students and their parents for taking achievement very seriously. We worked together as a community."

Shalk said in order to make AYP, the state takes more into consideration than whether or not a school has made the math and reading targets.

The schools also have to make the targets for the desegregated groups, which include low income students and children with different learning levels. He said each student has a target to aspire to. The state also looks at the average daily attendance of students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. For high school students, the state looks at the graduation rate. Shalk said the students need to stay with a district for four years and graduate high school; if a student leaves, the other school takes over the responsibility of the graduation rate.

"If a school meets the reading and math targets, plus the attendance and graduation rate, it meets AYP," Shalk said. "It's a very good thing and quite frankly some year's not all the schools will meet the targets but it doesn't mean they're not making progress, they just didn't meet the target. Fortunately, all the targets were met [this year] and it really should be a source of pride for the community and schools."

Students in the district take the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System test in the fall, which allows teachers to see how students are growing academically. When students take the test in the spring, it counts towards meeting the targets and adequate yearly progress.

Students in the district as a whole continued to have better average test scores on the DCAS for the 2012-2013 school year than the state as a whole. While test scores for the schools in the district were down from a year ago, students still met the targets.

Shalk believes the district's Professional Learning Communities have helped to create a structure that maximizes teachers' abilities to instruct and use data to make informed decisions; he said this has helped the district meet AYP the past two years.

"We're very proud of the effort that's been put into our work with accountability. It's a challenge and a journey that we feel we have the staff, students and parents to be successful," he said.

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