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Student Success in the Turner School District


A preliminary report indicates Turner School District in Kansas City, Kan., most likely will have a passing grade this fall when the list of schools making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) during the 2010-2011 academic year becomes public, according to the district’s superintendent, Dr. Michelle H. Sedler. The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires annual AYP reports for all public schools in the United States.

If the district does make AYP, this news may be an indication the Turner district has found a way to begin closing the achievement gap for at least some of its students. In previous years, the district has struggled to meet requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, failing to make AYP four years in a row. However, the district then met AYP for two years in a row before stumbling again in the 2009-2010 academic year.

The district faces major educational challenges, with almost 70 percent of students eligible for free- or reduced-priced lunches, an indication that almost three-quarters of its young people come from disadvantaged families. In addition, about 30 percent of the district’s students are Hispanic and slightly more than 10 percent are African American. One goal of the No Child Left Behind act is to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority students and students who come from more privileged backgrounds.

Critics of the No Child Left Behind law contend AYP is not a good measure of school success, because it relies solely on results of high-stakes standardized tests, which are not the only way to measure student learning. However, AYP reports can be one indicator of school success in closing achievement gaps.

Dr. Sedler announced the preliminary AYP report for the 2010-2011 during the June 7 meeting of Turner’s School Board. She says the Kansas State Board of Education plans to release the official AYP report this fall. According to the state school board’s website, this information is slated for release during their September meeting.

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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