EAGLE pins hopes on new direction

Golden Valley school rated as underperforming by state Department of Education

KINGMAN - For the first time in the past three years, the Arizona Department of Education labeled Eagle Academy of Guidance, Leadership and Education as underperforming.

While the charter school in Golden Valley also failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress, Administrator Karry Whitten said the new administration is conducting positive changes.

"We started working towards the positive last year, and this year we started with new staff and new administration and reading specialist," Whitten said.

Whitten started her position in September, along with a new special education director and lead teachers.

"We're just trying to go in a new direction," Whitten said.

With 176 enrolled from kindergarten to 12th grade, the students were able to utilize the tutoring program created last semester, Whitten said. EAGLE, 423 S. Colorado Road, is continuing the program this year.

"We have a lot of positives going on," Whitten said.

The Arizona Department of Education released the measurements on the schools on their Web site, www.ade.az.gov.

Arizona Learns

While EAGLE received an underperforming profile for the 2007-2008 academic year, they were deemed performing the previous two years.

The evaluation comes as a result of Arizona Learns - an evaluation of schools across the state. Arizona Learns examines Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards and Dual Purpose Assessment scores, measure of academic progress, graduation and dropout rates, reclassification of English Language Learner students and AYP results.

The ratings go from failing to meet academic standards to underperforming to performing to performing plus to highly performing to excelling.

With 1,875 schools evaluated, the largest category schools across the state fell into was performing, with 39 percent. This consistency has been matched across the state, with most schools remaining statistically consistent in their performance on their Arizona Learns achievement profiles from 2007 to 2008, said Tom Horne, Arizona Department of Education superintendent.

Schools that are underperforming for three years in a row are deemed failing and face state intervention.

AYP

For the second time in the past three years, EAGLE did not pass AYP - the pass-fail standard set by the federal government. Beyond the 2007-2008 academic year, EAGLE did not pass AYP in 2005-2006.

The AYP is a No Child Left Behind requirement that measures data from the AIMS test and requires 95 percent of students in a school are tested. AYP also takes into account attendance rate or graduation rate.

AYP measures 253 categories. If a school doesn't meet the requirements for one category, they fail AYP for the year.

Whitten said the school failed because they did not meet the category of percent tested. It included students who have special needs, and they are required to take the state assessments without any accommodations, Whitten said.

"For a small school, this greatly impacts our scores," she said. "We are above the state average in regards to educating students with special needs, as most charter schools are. Our special education population is at 24 percent."

With at least 40 students in subgroups ranging from ethnicity to low income to special education, each school is tested in those subgroups. Schools could lose some federal funds that support low-income students if they fall short of the federal goals for three years in a row or longer.

Every three years, the percentage of students who must be proficient for schools to make AYP increases. The 2007-2008 academic years was one of the increases.

The Arizona Department of Education and schools throughout the state must achieve 100 percent proficiency by 2014.

The Arizona Department of Education will provide technical assistance to any school that failed to make AYP two years in a row, Horne said.