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February 21. 2013 9:41PM

Londonderry sees progress in test results

LONDONDERRY - While Londonderry's most challenged students continue to struggle in their math and reading lessons, efforts to address the problem appear to be working.

Local school officials said the district's most recent New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) scores suggest that adjustments made to programs, particularly those for students with educational disabilities, are showing signs of success.

Over the past two years, the Londonderry School District has worked to establish a new co-teaching model for the elementary math program and adjusted special education math services to focus on greater mastery of concepts, curriculum coordinator Andrew Corey said this week.

At the middle and high schools, a co-teaching model has contributed to improved math skills.

"These initiatives began in 2010 and have provided our students with a greater opportunity for success in the future," Corey said. "So right now the goal is to gain greater mastery of key concepts while maintaining our already well-developed curriculum."

Overall, 78 percent of the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students in the district's elementary schools scored proficient or higher in mathematics, compared to the 75 percent statewide average. Reading scores for the district's elementary school children averaged 81 percent proficient or higher, compared to 78 percent statewide.

At Londonderry Middle School, 63 percent of students in grades six through eight scored proficient or higher in mathematics compared to the 70 percent statewide average. Corey said that group's sixth-graders saw an 8 percent gain over last year's math scores, while eighth-graders saw a 5 percent gain over the previous year's scores.

Middle school reading scores averaged 77 percent proficient or higher, which is three points lower than the statewide average.

At Londonderry High School, 38 percent of 11th-graders scored proficient or higher compared to the 37 percent statewide average. That represents a 3 percent gain over the previous year's scores. High school students also saw a 5 percent gain over the prior year's reading scores, with 76 percent proficient or higher. The state average is 77 percent.

Corey said district administrators are working to update their action plans in accordance with the most recent scores, with School In Need of Improvement and District In Need of Improvement plans to be submitted to the state Department of Education.

"This will coordinate all our building's efforts and serve as a road map for the focus monitoring process as well as our continued improvement," Corey said.

This past September, Londonderry's three elementary schools were identified as Schools in Need of Improvement (SINI). In late August, the state Department of Education announced that North, South and Matthew Thornton Elementary Schools all failed to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress in the areas of special education reading and special education math that previous year.

Corey said those scores were similar to the scores of special needs children attending surrounding school districts, and like other area districts, multiple efforts are under way to address the shortcomings.

aguilmet@newstote.com

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