2010-02-18 / Letters to the Editor

Jamestown students achieving excellence

The goal of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation is that all students, regardless of ability or disability, will be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Profi- ciency of R.I. students is measured by New England Common Assessment Program tests.

Because of the NCLB goal, NECAP scores are reported, and each school’s progress is measured by the percentage of students who score at or above the proficiency level on these tests. While these numbers are important with respect to the federal goal, they fail to report the progress being made in achieving excellence.

I believe that it is unfortunate that R.I.’s reporting is focused on the lowest acceptable standard, rather than on the highest, which is “Proficient with Distinction.” Our teachers are working hard to achieve the Jamestown schools’ goal of enabling more students each year to achieve this level of excellence.

As Jamestown’s Superintendent of Schools, I am very pleased to be able to report that our students are making substantial progress in moving beyond proficiency to excellence. For the sake of brevity, I will cite but a few examples here and remind readers that the tests are taken at the beginning of the school year and so reflect the teaching and learning in the previous grades.

The 2009 Grade 5 NECAP results show that of the 88% of Jamestown students reported by the R.I. Department of Education to be proficient in reading, 33% of those students scored at the level of “Proficient with Distinction.” In math, the 85% reported to be proficient included 50% of students who scored “Proficient with Distinction.” These results show a huge improvement for the same students from the previous year.

The eighth grade NECAP results for reading show that of the 91% of students reported to be proficient, 40% actually scored at the highest level and in math, 38% of the 76% of Jamestown students reported to be proficient scored at the higher level of excellence.

At the March 4 Jamestown School Committee meeting, a comprehensive analysis of the NECAP scores for all grade levels will be presented. I invite you to attend this meeting to better understand the impact that our strategic improvement efforts are having on our students’ achievement.

I also encourage you to attend the second in a series of three informational sessions for parents and community members on our efforts to increase the rigor and the relevance in our curriculum in order to challenge and to prepare our students with 21st century knowledge and skills. This meeting will be held on March 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Lawn School.

Thank you for your continuing support for our schools and for our improvement efforts.
Marcia A. Lukon, Ph.D
Superintendent
Jamestown School Dept.

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