11/08/10 Plymouth Schools Superintendent Dan Tyree made the announcement on Thursday night during the school board meeting that the Plymouth School Corporation made AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). The State of Indiana designates the AYP status through student performance and participation scores on the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress + (ISTEP) assessments in English/language arts and mathematics. Additional data involved includes attendance rates for elementary and middle schools and graduation rates for high schools.

Tyree said that Plymouth High School did not make AYP due to the graduation rate. After the meting, Tyree verified that the graduation rate for the last school year was 85 percent. To pass, PHS needed to be at 88 percent or another ten students graduating. Tyree said the corporation will be addressing the need for possible alternative school expansions for the next semester.

Additionally, Lincoln Junior High did not make AYP after not meeting the standards for one sub-group. Sub-groups identified by the state can include any demographic group within the school that includes 30 or more students Examples of sub-groups are economic background, race/ethnicity, limited English proficiency and special education.

The need for schools to achieve AYP stems from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

Tyree said, “Our teachers are working so hard and getting so much.”

The school board heard the annual report from Deb Sherwood of Plymouth Adult Basic Education. Offerings through the program include free classes in GED preparation, employment skills, college preparation, and ESL (English As a Second Language).

Sherwood said they are working on a regional plan to develop a seamless adult education system to meet Indiana’s growing demand for an educated workforce. She said they work with adult basic education programs in St. Joseph, Elkhart, Kosciusko and Fulton counties.

She also informed the board that they are seeking to build partnerships with both Ancilla College and Ivy Tech by offering campus visits and having college representatives speak to students in the programs.

According to Sherwood, classes are offered for ESL youth and adults with individualized learning plans.

All class materials for all students are provided at no charge.

Sherwood said they served 175 students last year and 36 of those received GED diplomas. She said, “Our biggest problem continues to be that 70 percent come to us below a ninth grade level.”

They are also piloting a program that could lead to a welding certification for students completing the course work. The classes are being held at Argos High School during the trial period, according to Sherwood.

The yearly report on the progress of the high ability programming throughout the corporation was presented by Menominee Principal Michael Dunn. Dunn leads the programming throughout the entire corporation for students identified as “high ability”. Dunn said they have incorporated iPods for identified students in grade 4. Students in grades 5-6 are using Rosetta Stone programs in foreign languages for enrichment. Dunn said this year there 106 students taking Algebra I, 23 in geometry, and 98 in Biology I.

The board heard on first reading of policy revisions. According to Assistant Superintendent Rodger Smith the revisions are mainly technical. Some of the areas being considered include by-laws, background checks, genetics, physical exams, anti-harassment, FMLA, chronic health conditions, and volunteer language.

By Carol Anders Correspondent