Local school ahead of curve

Published 7:26 pm Saturday, December 20, 2008

Billingsley School has received national recognition for its progress toward meeting the objectives of No Child Left Behind.

The U.S. News & World Report listed Billingsley in the Bronze category of high achieving schools in a December report. The research was done in collaboration with School Evaluation Services, a business that provides parents with data for K-12 education.

“It was nice to get recognized for something we didn’t actually apply for,” Principal Van Smith said.

Schools must meet yearly AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) goals that measure progression toward the standards of No Child Left Behind. K-12 schools like Billingsley are rated on many categories including special education population, graduation exam numbers and drop-out rate. Another important part of the criteria is the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test (ARMT) administered in grades 3-8.

The only area where Billingsley had not made significant progress was the school’s dropout rate, Smith said. But in the areas of reading and math, they are way ahead of the curve.

“We have to continue to make progress, but what we have reached in reading and math are not required until 2012,” Smith said.

He was quick to give credit to teachers, county government and parents.

“This has been a school-wide effort,” he said. “Our teachers have worked extremely hard, we have received tremendous support from the Board of Education, and parents have bought into the concept that they need to do everything they can to help their children progress, especially in reading and math.”

The report may be viewed on the Web site www.usnews.com by clicking on “education” then clicking on “best high schools” and searching by state.