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Despite Progress, Many V.I. Schools Get Failing Grade

Students at Gladys Abraham Elementary attend one of 14 schools that made Adequate Yearly Progress in the territory.While realizing gains in its student test scores, 57 percent of V.I. schools are still failing to meet the V.I. Department of Education’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) objectives. Territorial schools released their report card to the public Monday at the Education Department’s headquarters on St. Thomas.
This year’s report reflects a marked improvement over the last school year, when just five V.I. schools met AYP goals.
The schools are assessed for proficiency in reading and math, attendance and participation.
Some schools like Ricardo A. Richards Elementary have incorporated the test results right into the curriculum, using it to teach graphing and investing the students themselves in improving the results.
The data isn’t just for the adults, Ricardo Richards Principal Colleen Mae Williams explained.
“We presented the data to the students, they did their own graphs and put them on the classroom walls,” Williams said. “Once the students saw what the data was, it became a challenge in many classrooms. The students set their own goals for post-test and state testing.”
Williams and Assistant Principal Wendy Gonzales held grade-level meetings with the students all the way through sixth grade, presenting the data and helping students to make projections about how they would fare on the actual state test.
“They were using math skills, graph-reading skills and using them to communicate verbally,” Williams said.
The proof of the exercise’s effectiveness is in the pudding. Last school year Ricardo Richards missed AYP because its math scores did not meet proficiency level. This year saw the school’s math scores come up, meeting AYP standards.
The data is detailed all the way down to individual students scores and cumulatively, all the way up to the territory level.
“We are able to look and see the same grade-level of students over time,” said Jeanette Smith-Barry, St. Thomas/St. John district insular superintendent. Data at the grade level spoke volumes, according to Smith-Barry.
That data allows assessment at the student, classroom, grade, school, and district level and can identify areas of both performance and nonperformance. In addition, the data captures demographic performance, including gender and ethnicity.
All 14 schools that met the territory’s AYP standards are elementary schools.
Only one V.I. junior high, Elena. L. Christian, received a proficient score in math, and none met the AYP standard for reading.
Three of four high schools met AYP in Math, but none met it for reading.
In addition, and as part of the legacy of the “No Child Left Behind” initiative, the percentage of the territory’s teachers qualified to teach in their subject area rose significantly.
On the territory’s first report card in 2007, less than 15 percent of teachers were considered highly qualified, but the following year numbers had risen to over 40 percent, gaining another five points for the 2008–2009 school year.
In 2009 the department’s stated goal was 70 percent by start of the 2009-10 school year, which the department missed by 25 points.
Ultimately, the goal is to have 100 percent of students taught by highly qualified teachers.
Ten St. Croix district schools and five St. Thomas/St. John are on the “in need of Improvement” list. Seven V.I. schools have been “identified for improvement” for four years, according to the report card. These schools include Addalita Cancryn Junior High and Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School on St. Thomas; and on St. Croix, Charles H. Emanuel, Claude O. Markoe, and Juanita Gardine elementary schools, and Elena L. Christian and John H. Woodson junior highs.

Report Card By School
Meet AYP for Reading?/Math?/Identified for Improvement? — School Name

Elementary Schools — St. Croix
Yes/Yes/No – Alexander Henderson
No/No/Yes – Charles H. Emanuel
No/No/Yes – Juanita Gardine
Yes/Yes/No – Pearl B. Larsen
No/No/Yes – Claude O. Markoe
No/No/Yes – Lew Muckle
Yes/Yes/No – Ricardo Richards
No/Yes/Yes – Eulalie Rivera
No/No/Yes – Evelyn Williams
Middle Schools — St. Croix
No/Yes/Yes – Elena Christian
No/No/Yes – Arthur A. Richards
No/No/Yes – John H. Woodson
High Schools — St. Croix
No/No/Yes – Central High School
No/No/Yes – St. Croix Education Complex

Elementary Schools — St. Thomas
Yes/Yes/No – Gladys Abraham
Yes/Yes/No – Guy Benjamin
Yes/Yes/No – Yvonne Milliner Bowsky
Yes/Yes/No – Leonard Dober
Yes/Yes/No – Joseph Gomez
Yes/Yes/No – Antonio Jarvis
No/No/Yes – Lockhart
Yes/Yes/No – Evelyn Marcelli
Yes/Yes/No – Ulla F. Muller
Yes/Yes/No E. – Benjamin Oliver
Yes/Yes/No – Joseph Sibilly
No/No/Yes – Julius Sprauve
No/Yes/No – Jane E. Tuitt
Middle/Junior High Schools — St. Thomas
No/No/Yes – Bertha C. Boschulte
No/No/Yes – Addelita Cancryn
High Schools — St. Thomas
No/Yes/Yes – Charlotte Amalie
No/Yes/No – Ivanna Eudora Kean

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