But how did Bayside High, where 79 percent of the class of 2005 graduated on time - compared to a city average of 58 percent - get on the list of schools considered in shorthand failing?The designation is a result of the No Child Left Behind act. The law requires students in different demographic groups to meet certain standards, and if any one of those demographic groups falls short, the school is labeled "needs improvement."Bayside High School students hit their targets in all the demographic groups - black, white, Hispanic, Asian, special education, low income - except one: English-language learners.According to Principal Judith Tarlo, the difficulty arises when students who enter school as English-language learners pass state tests to become what is considered English proficient. That shrinks the pool of students in the subgroup of English-language learners whose progress is being measured."If you start high school as a black student, you stay a black student. But you test out of English language proficiencies," Tarlo said.Even that group of English-language learning students got high enough marks on state tests they took last January to exceed the school's "safe harbor" target, Tarlo said. The safe harbor target, a measure below the absolute standard but higher than the school's previous score, provides a safety net for schools that show progress toward their performance goals. But in order for the safe harbor to keep a school off the "needs improvement" list, the students in the subgroup - in this case English-language learners - need to have a 55 percent graduation rate the previous year. At Bayside High, 54 percent of English-language learners graduated the previous year, Tarlo said.Still, she said the designation - which Bayside High shares with 73 other schools in Queens -- was a sobering, she and her staff would work to make sure all students get the attention they need."If we consider each data point a student then we can afford to do only the best," she wrote in a letter to staff.Six other schools in Queens were added to the list, including PS 19 in Corona, JHS 8 in Jamaica, JHS 190 Russell Sage in Forest Hills, PS 86 in Briarwood, Newcomers High School in Long Island City and PS 151 in Woodside. Nine borough schools were removed from the list.Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at news@times
©2007 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.