I have mentioned the emphasis on testing in our schools. Over the years, schools have had to deal with both federal and state mandates and rules. Prior to giving schools grades, the state labeled schools as Excelling, Highly Performing, Performing........ Then the federal government had their own system of determining how schools did. One was called AYP, which stands for Adequate Yearly Progress. There were many different factors that went into determining whether a school made AYP. One of these ways was the percentage of students who took the AIMS test.
During the school year of 2008, Gilbert El was labeled "Highly Performing" by the state which was the second highest label. We actually had enough points to be Excelling, but we didn't have enough students in the exceeds category so that was a "ding" for us. The District had made the decision not to test all of the many special education students we had because it was so stressful for them. As a result, Gilbert El did not make AYP that year.
So here we are "highly performing" from the state and "failing" for the feds! Talk about inconsistency! And it was very demoralizing to our staff. As a result, I was given a "coach" from the Arizona Department of Education to help me figure out how to not be failing anymore!!! It was not fun and it was very difficult because we were doing well in many areas--not that there isn't room for improvement!
I always try to find the humor in situations. I think that is how I have survived!! My coach came to meet with me a few times and he didn't really know what to do because the only reason we were failing was because not enough students were tested! I am not sure how people got to be coaches, but I wasn't real impressed with him.
One day we were meeting and I was talking to him about all of the things that we were doing in our school improvement plan. I talked about having an "ad hoc" committee formed (can't remember the reason now). I continued to talk and a few minutes later he interrupted me and asked, "Who is Ed Hawk?" I looked at him strangely because I had no idea who Ed Hawk was and certainly didn't remember mentioning Ed's name! He said that I had said something about Ed Hawk. Then it dawned on me......"ad hoc" had to have been "Ed Hawk." I am not sure how on earth that question was asked under that context, but it was. So from that moment on, my ADE coach was renamed----Ed Hawk! I don't remember his actual name as he will always be ED HAWK to me!!
When it came time to test, we made sure that all of our sped students were tested. (I still think this is wrong at many levels.) As a result, we made AYP and were no longer failing. And I never had to meet with ED again!!!!!