Parkade ready for improvement

Friday, August 17, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:23 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Parkade Elementary School, part of Columbia Public Schools, was recently notified of its “needing improvement” preliminary designation status required under the No Child Left Behind Act.

“We are ready to do what we need to do,” said Parkade principal Betsy Baker, who received the notification last Friday while preparing for back-to-school events.

She, along with other school principals, will be attending a meeting today to review the Missouri Assessment Program data and decide the next steps that need to be taken in this process.

Her school did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals in MAP scores for free and reduced-price lunches and African-American subgroups in mathematics. According to state results, 6.1 percent of students in the free and reduced-price lunch subgroup achieved proficient or advanced scores, out of a 2006 annual proficiency target of 26.6 percent. Almost 60 percent of Parkade’s 419 students in 2006 were eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program at the school.

African-American students made up approximately 46 percent of Parkade’s enrollment in 2006; 3.7 percent of the students met the above annual proficiency target.

District officials say this preliminary designation does not mean there will be a shift in school funding. “It is not a matter of taking resources from one area to another to eliminate disparity,” said Sally Beth Lyon, Columbia Public School’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

“Standardized test results are used to understand where improvements can be made and why, but honestly, they are a blunt instrument,” she said.

Kara Rohr, treasurer for the Parkade Parent-Teacher Association, said: “I think it’s hard to judge a school solely on standardized testing.”

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