OXFORD — Clear Creek Amana (CCA) monthly school board meetings open with good news, typically a brief report on a fine arts program, athletic, or academic accomplishment. For the July meeting, District Superintendent Dr. Paula Vincent delivered some much anticipated good news on the academic front: none of the CCA schools are currently on the U.S. Department of Education’s watch list for troubled schools.
The annual progress report, which is required under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation (NCLB), was submitted on July 8. The district received a quick response, which pleased not only Dr. Vincent, but the board as well.
“We met all of the 164 criteria,” Dr. Vincent said. “We have no schools on any watch list or with any concerns at this time.”
Dr. Vincent called the news “a tribute, particularly to the middle school.” She reminded the board how just two years ago the school was identified with concerns about mathematics performance.
“We worked hard at it, got off that list,” Vincent said. But, the school was then identified with concerns about reading. “Now, this year, we are off both of those lists.”
The concept of No Child Left Behind was originally proposed by President George W. Bush shortly after his inauguration in January 2001. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) was the chief author of the legislation, which passed later in the year with bipartisan support.
According to the Department of Education, NCLB was conceived with the goal of improving the performance of elementary and secondary schools while “ensuring no child is trapped in a failing school.”
The legislation required states to implement accountability systems statewide, covering all public schools and their students. State standards were to be challenged in the areas of reading and mathematics. Annual testing for all students in third through eighth grade was mandated along with the establishment of annual statewide progress objectives. The goal was to “ensure all groups of students reach proficiency within 12 years.”
School districts and individual schools which fail to make “adequate yearly progress” toward the proficiency goals are subject to “improvement, corrective action, and restructuring measures,” according to the Dept. of Education.