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Six Of Eight Manassas Schools Fail AYP

By Greg L | 27 August 2008 | Manassas City | 28 Comments

Manassas City Schools have typically been among the best schools in the region, which makes this year’s report on Adequate Yearly Progress somewhat surprising.  Six of eight of the city’s schools failed, and the district as a whole failed.  While sometimes districts become a victim of their own success and just can’t find opportunities to improve beyond a certain point, I kind of doubt that’s the case here.

From the MJM:

In Manassas, six out of the city’s eight schools, Baldwin, Dean, and Weems elementary schools, Mayfield Intermediate School, Grace E. Metz Middle School and Osbourn High School did not make AYP.

Despite not making AYP, Superintendent Gail Pope said the city schools did make gains in several areas this year.

For example, Metz did not make AYP overall, but did meet the standards in math, which has been a focus at the school for the past several years, Pope said.

“We had a big focus on math,” Pope said. “We saw a great jump in math achievement so we’re very happy with that.”

Pope said all of the Manassas schools will be teaching a new writing program this year, which should help to improve reading scores.

The picture is brighter in Prince William County and Manassas Park, but what the heck is going on in the city?

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  1. anon said on 27 Aug 2008 at 11:05 pm:
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    Maybe we’ll be able to our kids school soon.

  2. anon said on 27 Aug 2008 at 11:06 pm:
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    be able to PICK which school our kids go to. I’m tired, sorry.

  3. wanna bet said on 28 Aug 2008 at 12:32 am:
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    And just how will being able to pick our kids schools they attend make the difference? Every school in the city has large hispanic enrollments which take the scores down overall. Could it possibly be the content of modern day curriculumn and the lack of well educated educators?

  4. DiversityGal said on 28 Aug 2008 at 1:11 am:
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    wanna bet,

    The educators in Manassas City are quite well-educated, I can assure you. Please feel free to check their credentials, educational backgrounds, and continued professional learning in their content areas if you think they are suspect.

    I happen to know many of these educators personally, though I do not work in the school system. I see how they are focused on their jobs long after their paid hours are up, and also how professionally knowledgeable they are.

    I find it somewhat offensive that you would imply that they are insufficiently trained. The ones I know personally at the high school level graduated from some of the best schools in the state of Virginia, and continue their pursuit of excellence each year.

    I think what is warranted is taking a careful look at what AYP is, and exactly what criteria goes into it (and what was missed in the afore-mentioned schools). AYP in the state of VA operates under the assumption that scores can be raised by a constant number each year, rather than following statistical research that shows how performance will plateau over time. If proper growth models aren’t used, it makes it difficult for any school to reach AYP. It’s just a question of how soon that will happen for your school. Lou Jacobson from the CNA Corporation has a great model and explanation of the issues with AYP.

  5. Love The USA said on 28 Aug 2008 at 8:27 am:
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    If there is only one high, middle, and intermediate school you can send them to another school district. I agree about the enrollments but MP has the problem and they are making AYP. Maybe Pope isn’t up to the job.

  6. Anonymous said on 28 Aug 2008 at 10:12 am:
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    I agree. If MP can do it then ANYONE can because they were inundated with more illegals per square foot than any other jurisdiction in the metro area.

  7. city rez said on 28 Aug 2008 at 10:45 am:
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    actually — Manassas City schools have been in decline for most of this decade.

    Does anyone know whether MP *guarantees* — what is it now?? 56%?? of the annual operating budget to the school system there, like Manassas City does??

    pretty paltry return on the investment for Manassas City taxpayers….

  8. Arlington Minority said on 28 Aug 2008 at 12:33 pm:
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    Thanks, PWC, for sending your immigrant kids to Arlington and causing a new overcrowding of our elementary schools. This is the inevitable result of your being so serious about the rule of law that you’re willing to forego the cost (both financial and academic) of accommodating freshly arriving refugees from the San Salvador school system.
    By the way, on a not totally unrelated topic, Arlington’s SAT scores are down once again, extending a recent trend. In light of PWC’s dump of new Arlington students, this trend is now programmed to take a real nosedive in about five more years.

  9. Johnson said on 28 Aug 2008 at 1:20 pm:
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    Weems went to hell when the last Principal left and a career climber took her place. Sorry, no names.

  10. ateacher said on 28 Aug 2008 at 9:12 pm:
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    Go to the DOE web site and look at the school report card. The report card breaks down student results by AYP criteria…low income, race, special ed, attendance etc. Those of you posting must also realize that the population of students in MCPS are very transient. Many students who took the SOLS at the end of the year were recent arrivals to the system by 1 to less than 1 year. There are many students that revolve thru 3 different school systems in the course of one school year. Additionally, one must remember that each group of children differs from the one before. What the report card does not report is cohort data. It does not track the students who were in the school from K to 3rd. That data is more indicative of how a school performs than data comprised of recent arrivals, students who transferred in and then out , then back in again. Schools such as Pennington in PWC do well b/c their students are firmly placed for 8 years, transience is not their issue. Do not make the mistake in thinking that low scores are correlated to ESOL, go on the DOE website and discover how many non-Esol students vs. Esol students failed to pass. You will probably be very surprised.

  11. Love The USA said on 28 Aug 2008 at 9:42 pm:
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    Thank you ateacher for this information it is helpful

  12. Lake Ridge said on 28 Aug 2008 at 11:32 pm:
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    12 middle schools in PWC did not make AYP. One that did was Woodbridge Middle, which is a school that many parents refuse to send their children, opting for the “superior”, Benton and Lake Ridge Middle Schools. Guess what? Neither of those schools made AYP.

  13. CitizenofManassas said on 29 Aug 2008 at 7:53 am:
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    Hmm, I guess this has nothing to do with the criminal students who attend the schools? I love the defenders of the liberal public school system. The fact I have to pay to send criminals to school because their parents are too busy breaking the law to pay taxes, pisses me off, but given that my taxes are sky high and this is the result just is icing on the cake.

    I don’t recall his name, but I’m sure the one school board member who visits this blog will chime in here. What is your excuse now for this showing?

    And, some wonder why I refuse to let my son attend criminal school.

  14. Lake Ridge said on 29 Aug 2008 at 3:53 pm:
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    CitizenofManassas - These children you call criminals, but those of us in the educational community (and I’m not the aforementioned board member) call ESL students, as a whole, are by far the hardest working students (ask ANY ESOL teacher anywhere), and in many cases, the highest achieving students.

    If you attribute the fact that so many schools did not make AYP to these children of illegals, I would first insist that you show all of us the hard numbers. In PWCS, this is certainly not the case, which makes me think the same applies to Manassas schools.

    The true criminals are the selfish parents that could care less about their child’s education, which is found in all ethnic classes and socio-economic groups. They are one of the major reasons why many schools do not make AYP. If the only learning that goes on in a child’s life occurs during that 7.5 hours in school, it is certainly not enough.

    The fact is, most of these children you refer to as “criminal” get more support from home than most of the other groups. Again, don’t take my word for it, ask any teacher at these schools. Year after year these kids’ scores rise. Just look at the pass rates of ESOL students between the grades of 6 and 8 alone. The number are amazing. This is attributed not only to the teachers, but mostly to the strong work ethic that has been taught to these children at home, as well as overall strong support from home.

  15. CitizenofManassas said on 29 Aug 2008 at 9:04 pm:
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    Lake Ridge,

    No, the problem is not just criminal students. The problem starts with the liberal NEA, the liberal teachers, and school boards that scream like sissys for more money to waste.

    I would expect that students who are getting more money spent on them to show some progress. Funny how you only seem to think criminals work hard or care about school. You do paint a different picture from the media and other defenders of criminals who say the criminals are not so concerned about the progress their criminal students are making. In fact in many school districts in California they see many of these criminal students take off the entire month of December to travel back “home. Exactly how does that show these criminals are concerned with education? Why don’t you take a look at one of largest school districts in the Country, the City of Los Angeles, to see exactly how criminals have ruined what was once a great school district.

    I hardly expect people who are too busy breaking the law to be concerned about their children and the schooling they receive at the benefit from those workers who do pay taxes.

  16. Lake Ridge said on 29 Aug 2008 at 9:59 pm:
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    I live my life wondering, “What would Jesus Do?”, or “What would Jesus think”? I am fairly certain that Jesus would not look at children as “criminals” just because their parents are not legal citizens of a country. I’ve got this strange idea that we should love each other regardless of our race, creed, or citizenship status. Of course, I guess you could say I follow Jesus’ teaching literally, which is an extremely rare thing among so-called Christians these days, but that’s a whole other debate, I suppose.

    Putting all that aside, I’m still waiting for documented proof that illegal aliens are the cause of Manassas schools not meeting AYP, or for that matter, the downfall of the LA schools. You know what? You won’t find proof, because it’s simply not true; just another attempt to find scapegoats for problems that really have nothing to do with a tiny percentage of people.

  17. CitizenofManassas said on 30 Aug 2008 at 8:03 am:
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    Lake Ridge,

    Keep hoping. Jesus would not support law breakers. You are like Nancy Pelosi who thinks she knows more about the opinion of the Catholic Church on abortion then the Pope. Just because you support criminals and make excuses for them, don’t think you are right. I suppose you also support child rapists and killers too? Given the fact that is exactly what these criminals did last year in PW County and the City of Manassas. Do you think these criminals passed on that particular work ethic to their children?

    Not true? Hardly.



    For a school to make AYP this year, 77 percent of students overall and in all subgroups including white, black and Hispanic students, students with limited English proficiency, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students had to pass the state reading tests.

    In addition, 75 percent of all students and of students in each subgroup had to pass the state math tests.

    Many of the Manassas schools missed making AYP by just one or two categories, and in some cases by just a few students, Pope said.

    I think it is clear by what Superintendent Pope is saying that reading and math were issues and if you can’t speak or read English, exactly how can you pass these tests? I suppose the students who are in the ESL classes would fit that profile.

  18. inaschoolsystem said on 30 Aug 2008 at 9:30 am:
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    Couple things. AYP is a set of predetermined pass rates mandated by “No Child left behind” for all kinds of things. Each year it increases incrementally. I forget what the rates are this year, but they are in the 80’s. While initially this may have seemed like a bright idea, by around 2012 or 13 the pass rates must be 100% across the board. I have no idea what genius in congress came up with that. One child gets a spanking for not eating breakfast and comes to school in a funk and your school goes belly up.

    When a school fails to make AYP three years in a row students may transfer out of the school to other choices offered by the school district. This is when things get serious. If it continues through the fifth year the state is supposed to come in and take over the school. There is one school in Arlington that this is happening to this year. No one really knows what is going to happen there as this is uncharted territory.

    When students leave a failing AYP school, of course it is not the low end students who go, it is the curvebreakers at the top. So the pass rates continue to spiral downwards even as the AYP rate increases every year. It does not take a rocket science to figure out where that bus is headed. The only real solution to getting things back so that all schools are passing in a district is to spread the low end performers around to all the schools so that while the overall scores of the individual schools decline, no one school winds up failing. Would you want that population of learners brought to your school if things were going along fine already?

    The impact of students not prepared for school, or from family circumstances that do not value education, or who have limited english proficiency, or who need everything up through child protective services is tremendous in any school or district. Teachers who spend more time on classroom behavior or language, or home issues naturally spend less time teaching. Students in that classroom who normally would progress steadily are slowed down or interrupted while the teacher handles these other issues. No matter how much we would WISH that a teacher can “differntiate” instruction in their classroom (read: meet EVERY child’s need on EVERY level) it just does not happen. Sorry.

    Fortunately for me, the school I am most familiar with now has pass rates from 98%-100% across the board. All our challenging students moved to Manassas about 4 years ago. But when 2012-2013 roles around we will be sweating things too if the current program remains unchanged.

  19. Arlington Minority said on 30 Aug 2008 at 11:56 am:
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    CitizenofManassas and Lake Ridge, you each have valid points. Unwitting criminality is conferred on the kids of illegals (most of whom are also illegal, but not by choice) , unless they are born here, and the frequent case is that each “family” has a mix of legal and illegal kids. On the issue of how their entry into a school system impacts achievement (their financial impact is all negative), CitizenofManassas wins the argument with room to spare. My personal experience in sending two girls to school in Nicaragua and Costa Rica has driven home the low expectations local people there have of the public school system. The elites go to private school, of course. When the illegals here send their kids to our schools, they typically never have the time or interest to do what it takes to make sure their kids are able to catch up. In doing so, they underestimate their kids’ abilities–as does our public system through ESL programs–and underperformance is the result. This impacts the general level of performance by retarding the pace of progress and by eliminating the competitive environment that drives performance. In Arlington, where $20,000+ is spent on each kid–illegal or not–we should be not only the best in Virginia, but the best in the free world. About 70% of Arlington’s school-aged kids go to private/parochial school (including the kids of public school teachers), which tells you how well considered the system is, leaving the rest trapped in the system. School officials welcome the influx of immigrants, whether newly arrived from Mexico or from PWC, as it tends to holds down the embarrassing cost-per-student figure. Their unfounded low expectations of immigrant kids is a roadblock to reducing per student cost, however, because their perceived need to pay for ESL and “at-risk” programs that for do more for the economic well being of the teachers union than the kids themselves.

  20. too many questions said on 30 Aug 2008 at 12:54 pm:
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    My honest questions are:

    Why is the answer is always more money, when is it ever enough for the schools?

    Did teachers get in this profession to get rich? Check out the salaries at the top, pretty impressive for public service.

    Why are we always coming up with new and improved ways to teach math and science and reading based on the latest failing grade of the school system, what happened to the 3 R’s?

    Why do we need to spend millions for a new Baldwin School when enrollment is on the decline, what is so wrong with the old school that it can not be fixed for a quarter of the price tag?

  21. ateacher said on 30 Aug 2008 at 2:48 pm:
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    Has anyone here bothered to look at the individual school report cards? I did for one Elem school…Baldwin. Here are math and english scores with APY break downs:

    English/Reading Pass Rates:

    All students 77%
    black 66%
    hispanic 74%
    white 91%
    students with disabilities 68%
    disadvantaged students 66%
    LEP (aka ESOL) 68%

    Math Pass Rates:
    All students 84%
    black 69%
    hispanic 81%
    white 96%
    disabled 71%
    disadvantaged 77%
    LEP 80%

    Note: Students can be counted in more than one category for AYP. A white student who is LD and gets free or reduced lunch for instance, would be counted in 3 categories. A black, middle class student with no disabilirties whould be counted in only one category.

  22. CitizenofManassas said on 30 Aug 2008 at 10:50 pm:
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    where did you get the information? I’d like to see it for all of the City schools.

    Too many questions,

    The NEA, a liberal union, is at the forefront of screaming for more money. They love bloated school budgets because that keeps their members happy. Many school boards are the same, they could care less how they spend money that belongs to someone else(taxpayers). Would you care how much money you spent if it did not come out of your own pocket?

    For example, the City of Manassas provides .57 of every tax dollar to the City schools. That of course is largest outlay the City has by far. Nice that we are getting our money’s worth(SARCASM!!!).

  23. ateacher said on 31 Aug 2008 at 4:40 am:
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    Citezen of Manassas,

    Google VA DOE, click on School Report Card, enter the district, click on the school, and view the scores. It’s that easy. You’ll find the past three years of SOL scores for every school in the state of VA.

  24. Elvis said on 31 Aug 2008 at 12:23 pm:
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    pay top dollar to the schools and hire awesome teachers. then eradicated the illegal aliens from the schools (send them to arlington maybe:) or better yet, back to the filthy holes from which they sprang.

    and now you have a recipe for a good school

    illegal aliens are just as bad as roaches and other parasites. they feed off the gratuity of others and expect things that most normal citizens cannot get.

  25. CitizenofManassas said on 1 Sep 2008 at 8:31 am:
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    Thanks. I did try a search but just under APY for Manassas schools.

    Elvis, top pay is not the only solution, since we already see spending more money does not always make a good school system. The teachers at my son’s school, a private one, of course, does not pay well, but the teachers are motivated and are there for the right reasons.

  26. ateacher said on 1 Sep 2008 at 7:13 pm:
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    citizen of manassas,

    What you really need to do is look at one school in one area, look at another school in the same area, then dissagregate the data among the entire state. When you focus on NOVA, then focus on Petersburg, or even Alta Vista, or New Port News public schools you will discover that each school has a different pass rate. What passes in NOVA for blacks, does NOT pass in southern central VA. Students with higher pass rates in Campbell Co. than City of Manassas, VA will fail AYP. That is how the feds configure it.

  27. Monster_Mom said on 2 Sep 2008 at 12:51 am:
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    Prince William County may have done better than Manassas, but only slightly. And the counties new math program (TERC Investigaitons) is a total bust. Grade 3 math SOLs (the earliest year with Investigations that takes the SOLs), showed no increase in pass rates and a drop in advanced scores. Every AYP group was down, even LEP. Some schools, like those in the western end of the county, saw near double digit drops in pass and advanced scores in grade 3 math.

  28. CitizenofManassas said on 15 Sep 2008 at 10:36 pm:
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    Lake Ridge,

    Here is a great article from CNN regarding the LA school system.


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