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Limestone results mixed

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

Limestone County Schools received mixed accountability results Monday, as nine of 12 schools achieved their Adequate Yearly Progress goals.

Three schools, Clements and Tanner high schools and Piney Chapel Elementary School,got off the state's school improvement status, a term the state uses to describe a school that needs improvement and could face possible state sanctions.

Two high schools, Ardmore and West Limestone, are on school improvement because they didn't achieve their AYP goals.

East Limestone also didn't make AYP, but is not in school improvement.

Debbie Owens, director of federal programs, student assessment and accountability, said Limestone's schools made particular improvement in special education, as every school achieved AYP in this subcategory.

"Special ed was one of our biggest concerns, and it still is," Owens said. "We did well, but it's a category in which you have to keep working at or you'll fall back again."

Graduation rates at the high schools are Limestone's biggest concern. Clements and Tanner got off school improvement because they improved their graduation rates, while graduation rates kept Ardmore, East Limestone and West Limestone from making AYP.

"(AYP) doesn't tell the whole story," Owens said. "Some of these schools that didn't make AYP have better graduation rates than those that did make AYP, but they didn't make improvement or have a rate over 90 percent."

For example, East Limestone had a 90 percent graduation rate last year, but dropped to 85 percent this year. Tanner went from 70 percent last year to 76 percent this year.

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