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Priceville Junior High students reported for their first day of classes Monday in the Morgan County School System.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Priceville Junior High students reported for their first day of classes Monday in the Morgan County School System.

Morgan clears hurdle

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

Morgan County Schools got off "school improvement" status with Monday's release of Alabama's education accountability standards for 2006-07.

The county achieved its Adequate Yearly Progress goals for the second straight year to take itself off the status. School improvement is a status the state uses to denote schools that aren't making the academic improvements necessary to meet federal No Child Left Behind requirements.

Only two of the county's 17 schools did not make AYP. Danville Middle School and Falkville and Priceville high schools made AYP for the
second straight year to get
off school improvement sta-
tus.

"We made a lot of progress," Superintendent Bob Balch said. "The fact that the school system and three schools were released from school improvement is exciting."

Albert P. Bre wer High School did not make AYP and is on school improvement status. West Morgan High School also didn't make AYP for the first year, but is not on school improvement.

Graduation rates kept both schools from making AYP. Brewer dropped from 74 percent to 66 percent, while West Morgan fell from 91 percent to 81 percent.

Mary Marquart, school improvement specialist for the school system, said county school officials know that graduation rates are an issue and they're trying to address them. The high schools implemented a credit recovery system because students often drop out of school when they fall behind and realize they won't graduate with their class.

They are depending heavily on the state's distance learning program, Alabama Connecting Classes for Educators and Students Statewide.

The school system is also starting the Mom's Program to help students stay in school through pregnancy and following childbirth.

Special education is a systemwide concern. Most of the feeder schools do not have enough (at least 40) special-education students for this subcategory to qualify as an AYP, but they combine into a high school to make this an AYP goal.

"We're going to re-evaluate our numbers and who we are identifying as a special-education student," Marquart said. "We're going to focus our attention on the feeder schools and make sure they're progressing as they should."

Marquart said the elementary and middle schools improved their reading proficiencies "considerably."

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