Attendance rate puts Park Rapids on AYP list

The Park Rapids Schools and Area High School are not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Statewide, Park Rapids is among 729 schools, including charter schools and alternative learning programs...

The Park Rapids Schools and Area High School are not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

Statewide, Park Rapids is among 729 schools, including charter schools and alternative learning programs, that did not earn AYP status, compared to 483 which did not last year.

Neither the Park Rapids district nor high school will face federal consequences under NCLB this year. The only requirement is to report it.

Century Middle School Principal Bruce Gravalin and Area High School Principal Al Judson presented AYP data to the school board Monday night.

Of 780 students tested, 70.26 percent were proficient in reading, compared to a state average of 68.22 percent. Of 788 students tested, 56.6 percent were proficient in math, compared to a state average of 60.62 percent.


Reviewing data for the district, Gravalin said the proficiency rates are very good when considering 22 percent of students - nearly one in four - are in special education.

"When you have that number of special education students, staff are doing an exceptional job," Gravalin said.

The state data also showed Park Rapids as having an attendance rate of 95 percent when the standard is 90 percent.

What's confusing, Gravalin said, is the AYP status for the high school and district. He said he contacted a Minnesota Department of Education staff person, who has access to data the district doesn't have. According to what he was told, the reason the district fell short was the participation of Native American students who took the math exam.

AYP is calculated separately by subgroups that include students in special education, English language learners, ethnic groups and students receiving free and reduced-price meals. Results for all students and each subgroup must meet AYP benchmarks in order for a school or district to make AYP.

Gravalin explained that even though none of the schools has enough Native American students to meet the "cell size of 40, cumulatively we do. We fell short, but we don't know where."

Judson said he believes the participation rate for subgroups is cumulative, year after year.

Both principals said they will be trying to learn more about the AYP ranking.


In the meantime, the principals agreed that as the bar is being raised on proficiency, the district needs to work on math curriculum.

By 2012, all eighth graders are to be tested for algebra.

In other action Monday night, the school board:

n Approved the resignation of business manager Olive Springborn. Springborn, who began working in Park Rapids in November 2000, is going to Rockford. Her last day is Oct. 11.

Superintendent Glenn Chiodo said the posting for applications went out Monday with a deadline of Oct. 1.

"She has served the district with dedication and commitment," commented board member Gary Gauldin.

Chiodo added that Springborn took on several other responsibilities during budget cuts and he is reviewing her job description, which may have to be adjusted.

n Learned the ninth grade class has a closed lunch hour this trimester. Judson said he hasn't heard a single complaint from a ninth grader.


n Approved hiring Tom Coborn to the position of long-term high school social studies substitute. Also approved were Paul Reichling as a custodian, Jeff Tretbar as a bus driver, and Brinda Fix, Denise Deitchler, Kim Waggoner and Sarah Poehler as middle school special education paraprofessionals.

Ann Lempola was approved as a volunteer driver for girls tennis and Karl Carlson as a volunteer football coach.

n Accepted the resignation of Kathy Brock as a paraprofessional. Brock will remain in the schools as an employee of Stellher Human Services.

n Approved two-year negotiated contracts with central office staff and supervisors.

Chiodo announced the first mediation session with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union representing nonlicensed staff is set for 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 24.

Other than the AFSCME group, Chiodo said the only contract not yet settled is with the Community Education director.

n Asked the administrative team to discuss board member Dennis Dodge's suggestion of recognizing an employee of the month.

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