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9:02 AM Mon, Dec. 10th

Local schools get good marks on Arizona LEARNS

KINGMAN - Kingman High School and Manzanita Elementary School were pacesetters in the Kingman Unified School District in the latest Arizona LEARNS profiles released Monday by the state Department of Education.

Both schools received performing-plus marks for being above state performance goals.

Ironically, both schools failed in the Adequate Yearly Progress results released last month. Manzanita's failing mark was overturned on appeal to the state DOE.

"AYP is a flawed system," KUSD Superintendent Maurice Flores said.

"I can't disagree with the premise of No Child Left Behind, but there are so many ways to fail it."

"We don't have failing schools, just some that need to upgrade their performances," Flores said.

LEARNS stands for leading education through the accountability and results notification system. It's the state's plan to fulfill requirements of federal NCLB legislation.

Each of four grade levels - 3, 5, 8 and 10 - receives one of six marks from the state DOE. Excelling, highly performing, performing-plus, performing, under-performing or failing is assigned based on how grades are meeting state performance and progress goals.

Seven other KUSD schools - Hualapai, La Senita, Palo Christi, Cerbat, Kingman Junior High (now Kingman Middle School), Black Mountain and Mt. Tipton 10th grade - were given the same performing marks they got last year.

"You can never accept status quo," Flores said. "I think every school should be performing-plus. We just need to continue to improve the qualify of education and delivery system we are working on."

Grades 3, 5 and 8 at Mt. Tipton were given an under-performing mark, just as last year.

Flores said Arizona has a points scale in which 13 equates to performing. Mt. Tipton went from 8 last year to nearly 12 on that scale this year, so those lower grades are on track to reach a performing status mark next year.

Eagle Academy, a charter school in Golden Valley, saw its students in the four measured grades all climb from under-performing one year ago to performing this year.

"After last year, we implemented intensive individualized tutoring programs," Eagle Principal Mary Stuart said. "After assessing test data, teachers implemented strategies in their classrooms to target weak areas."

Eagle is a K-12 school with roughly 235 students. Stuart said what worked last year would continue this year as the school strives to earn a performing-plus mark on the next Arizona LEARNS profiles.

Kingman Academy of Learning received performing-plus marks for its high (grade 10), middle (grade 8) and intermediate (grades 3, 5) schools.

"Our middle school missed a highly performing rating by two-hundredths of a point, and our intermediate school had another solid performing-plus mark as last year," said Susan Chan, district administrator.

KAOL Primary School earned an excelling mark for its second grade. That rating was based on the latest Terra Nova test results.

"It was the result of a lot of hard work," Chan said.

"It was accomplished by a group of teachers in kindergarten, first and second grades continuing to hone curriculum to meet all state standards."