Annapolis Middle restructuring

Superintendent's plan a result of failure to reach annual progress marks in reading

March 08, 2009|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

Annapolis Middle School, which has failed to meet federal reading mandates in five of the past six years, will undergo a state-monitored restructuring that will emphasize a rigorous academic program, replace some staff, require more professional development and offer year-round instruction to students, according to a plan approved by the school board last week.

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education unanimously approved Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell's restructuring plan for Annapolis Middle School, which has consistently failed to meet what is referred to as "adequate yearly progress" in reading. Maxwell's plan must also receive state approval.

The Maryland State Department of Education gives three options for schools that must undergo restructuring: replace all or part of the staff, reopen as a charter school or contract with a private management company.

AYP targets are a key component of No Child Left Behind, setting percentage goals for proficiency on the English and math portions of annual standardized tests in eight subgroups of students. The required percentage of passing students rises each year until it reaches 100 percent in 2012.

Maxwell's plan centers on the school's Middle Years Program, which is similar in structure to the International Baccalaureate Program for high-school students. He has also proposed lengthening the school year or school day, and using the State School Improvement Grant. Maxwell has proposed a Summer Bridge Program for sixth-graders to assist their transition to middle school. The plan also calls for the replacement of school staff who are "deemed relevant to the school not making adequate progress."

The plan is similar but not identical to the restructuring plan that was implemented in January 2007 at Annapolis High School, which had similarly failed to meet AYP. At Annapolis High School, Maxwell implemented "zero-basing" all 193 of its staff members to reapply for their jobs.

A year into its restructuring plan, Annapolis High met AYP targets for the first time in six years.

Maxwell's plan at Annapolis Middle also calls for school department chairs in math, language arts, science, social studies and special education to have nonteaching duties and to take more active roles in coaching other teachers.

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