(11/14/2012)
Westest problems surfaced at Arnoldsburg Elementary School this year, with Calhoun Superintendent of Schools Roger Propst saying the issue caused the West Virginia Department of Education to invalidate test scores related to a problem in one Arnoldsburg classroom.

It appears, without the identified problem in a single classroom where test scores were disallowed, the school would have made AYP (Average Yearly Progress), or Arnoldsburg students meeting standards.

Now, since the school has not made No Child Left Behind/Westest standards for two years running, Arnoldsburg Elementary principal Jeannie Wade is required by federal and state regulations to notify parents who have students at Arnoldsburg, they have a right to exercise "school option choice" and send their child to Pleasant Hill Elementary School.

The full text of the notification is at the conclusion of this story.

"Concerns about alleged irregularities in giving the WESTEST 2 in one of the classrooms at Arnoldsburg Elementary School last spring caused the West Virginia State Department of Education to invalidate test scores of 13 students to non-proficient status," said Propst.

Propst said, "This (problem) resulted in the school not achieving Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for school year 2011-12."

The WV Department of Education says the reason for disallowing the scores is a business agreement with the company that publishes the test.

"We are working with the State Department to get to the bottom of it. Because this is a personnel matter, I cannot comment further," Propst said.

Below is the letter to parents submitted by principal Wade

Dear Parent/Guardian

West Virginia's public schools have been working hard to improve the performance of our students in reading, writing, and mathematics. On state tests, most students are scoring well and are achieving mastery in these core subjects. Our schools have shown that they can and will rise to high standards.

The federal law, No Child Left Behind, requires that schools that do not meet the state standards for two consecutive years are identified for school improvement. A Local Education Agency must offer public school choice to all students in Title I schools identified for school improvement, corrective action or restructuring until the school is no longer identified for improvement.

Children in Title I schools identified for improvement are eligible to attend another public school in the district not identified for improvement and may receive transportation to the school. Transportation costs required to implement public school choice will be paid for by the LEA utilizing Title I as well as other allowable federal, state, local, and private resources. If available funds are not sufficient to provide transportation to ail students exercising the option to change schools, an LEA must give priority to the lowest achieving students from low income families.

Arnoldsburg Elementary has not met the state standards for adequate yearly progress in 2011 and/or 2Q12. As a result, you have the right to request that your child be transferred to Pleasant Hill Elementary School pending space available.

Calhoun County Schools will accommodate as many requests for transfers as possible. However, federal law requires that first priority must be given to the lowest income and lowest achieving students based on the results of the State assessment (WESTEST 2). If you transfer your child to another school, she/he may remain in that school until she/he has completed the highest grade in the school. Yet, Calhoun County Schools will only assume the cost of the transportation until the school of origin Arnoldsburg Elementary is no longer identified for school improvement. Your decision to exercise public school choice for your child should be based on what you feel is academically and socially best for your child.

The Arnoldsburg Elementary staff will be re-evaluating the school's strategic plan to identify ways to strengthen instructional and support programs for students as a result of not meeting adequate yearly progress and the state standards. Parent and community members are encouraged to work with the school in the development of the strategic plan.

See related story STATE THROWS OUT SOME ARNOLDSBURG WESTEST RESULTS - 'We Are Working To Get To The Bottom Of It,' Says Propst


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