Progress lagging in more schools

Five more Schenectady schools have been designated schools in need of improvement, according to the

Five more Schenectady schools have been designated schools in need of improvement, according to the state Education Department.

Making the list

A look at the schools added to the needs improvement list in 2011-12. Schools are added to the list if they do not report progress in the percentage of students in grades 3-8 passing standardized tests in English and math:


Albany: Albany School of Humanities; Delaware Community School; P. J. Schuyler Achievement Academy; Thomas S. O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology — all English; Myers Middle School — English and math

Guilderland: Lynwood Elementary School — English

North Colonie: Shaker Junior High School — English

South Colonie: Colonie Central School — English and math; Sand Creek Middle School — English only


Broadalbin-Perth: Broadalbin-Perth Middle School — English

Gloversville: Boulevard School — English; Gloversville Middle School — English and math


Amsterdam: Marie Curie Institute of Engineering and Communications, Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy — English

Canajoharie: Canajoharie Middle School — English

Fonda-Fultonville: Fonda-Fultonville 5-8 School — English

Fort Plain: Harry Hoag School — English


Ballston Spa: Ballston Spa Middle School — English

Corinth: Corinth Middle School — English and math

Shenendehowa: Arongen Elementary School — English

South Glens Falls: Oliver W. Winch Middle School — English


Duanesburg: Duanesburg Middle School — English

Niskayuna: Iroquois Middle School — English

Schenectady: Franklin D. Roosevelt Elementary, Hamilton Elementary, Pleasant Valley School, Woodlawn School — all English; Lincoln School — English and math

Scotia-Glenville: Scotia-Glenville Middle School — English


Cobleskill-Richmondville: William Golding Middle School — English

Middleburgh: Middleburgh Middle School — English

Source: State Education Department

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hamilton, Lincoln, Pleasant Valley and Woodlawn elementary schools have been added to the list, joining Martin Luther King Magnet School, Paige, Blodgett and the Oneida and Mont Pleasant schools. Students in those schools are not making sufficient progress in English.

Superintendent John Yagielski said he was not surprised by the news, given the district’s performance on the state standardized tests. Yagielski said an in-depth evaluation process has already started and people from the state will be coming in to review the schools and their educational practices. An improvement plan will be drafted and presented to the Board of Education sometime in February.

Schenectady as a whole is in its seventh year as a district in need of improvement. Yagielski said too many students are not reading at grade level.

“The roots of reading are really in the language itself and depending on the environment, youngsters come to school with significantly different knowledge and abilities.”

The students whose parents read to them and expose them to educational experiences generally do better in school, according to Yagielski.

Also, Yagielski said that when the state changed the passing mark for the standardized tests a year ago, many more students didn’t meet the standard. That pushed a lot of districts onto the list.

Tim Backus, assistant superintendent for instruction of the South Colonie Central School District, agreed with that assessment.

“We’re told by BOCES that you’d have a hard time finding a school that isn’t identified,” Backus said.

His district was placed on the list because students with disabilities did not perform well in English at Sand Creek Middle School and on both English and math at the high school.

Backus said BOCES is assisting with providing a specialist to observe classrooms.

“They give you some ideas of what you’re doing wrong and what you could be doing differently,” he said.

Statewide, 1,325 schools and 123 districts are on the improvement list under the federal No Child Left Behind Law. This year alone, 847 schools were added to the list, including 350 in New York City.

The No Child Left Behind law requires that schools demonstrate that they are making progress every year to get to 100 percent of students being proficient in English and math by the year 2014. Schools that consistently perform poorly could face closure or replacement of staff.

The state Board of Regents is currently working to apply for a waiver from the standards to create its own way to improve academic achievement.

Categories: Schenectady County

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