Headline missed school's successes

letters

August 31, 2008

Nicole Fuller's story on the Maryland State Department of Education's differentiated accountability model for school improvement in your Aug. 28 edition provided an accurate look at how the model can assist a school like Brooklyn Park Middle School to increase the achievement for all its students.

The headline accompanying the story, however, furthered the very perception that differentiated accountability sets out to eradicate. Brooklyn Park Middle School, in fact, did not "miss the mark" in meeting Adequate Yearly Progress targets for the most recent school year, as the headline implies. In fact, the school made AYP in all 18 areas.

One of the perils of No Child Left Behind is that schools are, unfortunately, labeled total successes or total failures. Brooklyn Park Middle School, though it had not met AYP targets for four of the previous six years, is anything but a failing school. It is, instead, a school which has been on the forefront of positive change in our county for a number of years. It is a school where students are engaged in interactive and exciting instruction daily, and where a dedicated staff is implementing creative programs to increase achievement for all students.

When the school has missed AYP targets, it has done so by a slim margin. It is exactly the type of school that the state's new differentiated accountability model will help most. There are great success stories at Brooklyn Park Middle School. The state's new model will only add to those stories.

KEVIN M. MAXWELL, Ph.D.

The writer is superintendent of schools for Anne Arundel County

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